<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California.
Hosted by

New study says all red meat is bad for you

Fresh ground beef is displayed at Marina Meats on January 31, 2012 in San Francisco, California.
Fresh ground beef is displayed at Marina Meats on January 31, 2012 in San Francisco, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Listen to story

Download this story 12.0MB

Self-satisfied vegetarians have yet another reason to gloat. One of the longest studies ever to look at the impact of red meat on health reports that any amount and any type of red meat significantly increases the risk of premature death.

The 20-year study, conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, expected to find processed meat like hot dogs or bacon were bad for your health, and they did link consumption with a 20-percent higher risk of death during the study. To their surprise, however, they also found that adding just one 3-ounce serving of unprocessed red meat – the size of a deck of cards – was associated with a 13-percent greater chance of dying during the course of the study.

On the other hand, replacing a serving of meat with a serving of nuts actually lowered risk of dying by 19 percent. The real mystery remains, however: scientists still aren’t exactly sure what makes red meat so dangerous. It could be the iron or saturated fat, the nitrates used to preserve it, or the chemicals created by high temperature cooking.

Of course, there are still naysayers sticking up for the meat lovers out there. Some researchers have already come forward to question the study’s methodology and Atkins and Paleo dieters are sure to have a retort.


Is moderation just a myth? Do you think this is a realistic diet for you?


Dr. Walter Willett, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Chair, Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health; co-author of the study

Dr. Eric C. Westman, associate professor of medicine at Duke University; co-author of “New Atkins for a New You"; president-elect of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians

Carol Koprowski, assistant professor of preventive medicine at The Institute of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California