Advice to limit steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, and other types of red meat to ward off heart disease and diabetes dates back to the late 1970s. But the evidence against meat has been inconsistent, with some studies suggesting risks only from processed red meat such as hot dogs, bacon, ham, and salami. Also, men tend to eat more meat than women. So which kind of red meat affects health, and is one sex more vulnerable to it than another? To find out, researchers reviewed dozens of observational and randomized studies that tracked red meat consumption (including 43 studies looking at heart disease and 27 looking at diabetes) among more than five million men and women. The researchers found that both unprocessed and processed red meat are linked to higher risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, with no apparent difference in risk between men and women. The authors urge all adults to reduce their red meat intake as a way to protect health. The findings were published June 2, 2023, in the European Heart Journal.
Image: © LauriPatterson/Getty Images
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.