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Red meat 'increases chance of early death'

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A diet high in red meat can significantly increase the chances of dying from heart disease and cancer, particularly in processed meat, a Harvard Medical School study has concluded.

The research examined the death rates for 120,000 people over two decades and found that regular consumption of red meat could increase the likelihood of premature death by up to one fifth.

Nutrition scientist Ursula Arens said 500g of cooked red meat per week is the maximum recommended amount which should be spread over various meals.

Speaking to the Today programme's John Humphrys, she said that a "bit of red meat is a source of iron and vitamins" but over that is showing to have an increased health risks.

She said that this study is epidemiology meaning it shows an association rather than proof of cause and effect but in terms of nutrition "this is as close as it gets" to definitive results.


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