Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

EPIDEMIOLOGY

Diet changes for longevity

BMJ https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l2110

The consumption of red meat, especially processed meat, is associated with a wide range of chronic diseases and premature death. However, up to now, there has been no evidence of how changes in red meat consumption might affect mortality and what alternative foods might be associated with greater longevity.

Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Science Photo Library / Getty

A new study by Yan Zheng, of Fudan and Harvard Universities, and colleagues examined the effects of changes in red meat and other foods consumption in two large prospective cohorts of US women and men: the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. By analysing data over the period 1994–2010 for 53,553 women and 27,916 men, the authors found that increasing the amount of red meat consumed by at least half a serving a day was associated with a 10% higher mortality risk. When looking at increases in consumption of processed red meat only, mortality risk was even higher (13%). Although decreasing red meat consumption alone did not appear to confer lesser mortality risk, simultaneously increasing the consumption of whole grains, vegetables, or other protein sources was associated with a reduction in mortality risk.

This study suggests that replacing red meat (especially processed meat) with healthy alternative choices can help promote longevity.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Stavroula Kousta.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Kousta, S. Diet changes for longevity. Nat Hum Behav 3, 780 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-019-0705-4

Download citation

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing