Sunday, May 6, 2012

No Beef With This Study - Reduced Red Meat Consumption Associated With Reduced Mortality

The Gist:  Reducing one's consumption of red meat is associated with a reduction in mortality, even when adjusted for BMI, alcohol consumption, smoking, and other co-morbid conditions.  Cut back on the red meat (and hot dogs) and substitute with fish, legumes, or nuts.  It's intuitive, repeatedly studied, and delicious!
My Family Medicine attending for April and May nicknamed me "Tofu."  Apparently, one should not bring tofu for lunch on the first day of rotations at a primary care clinic in the very rural South, even if it's cooked in a delicious dijon-rosemary sauce.  Each day my lunch seems to fascinate the office staff and nurses as discussion begins regarding these seemingly bizarre legumes ("what is a lentil?"), fresh vegetables, and spices such as coriander and cumin.
I recently came across a prospective observational study in April's Archives of Internal Medicine, however, that allows me to justify my odd food preferences to the crew that lives on fried pork chops and hamburger steak.  Yet another morsel of evidence that vegetable based food is good for us and has an impact on outcomes people tend to care about - such as death.
  • Hazard Ratio (HR) (95% CIs) for cardiovascular disease mortality was 1.16 (1.12-1.20) for total red meat and 1.21 (1.13-1.31) for processed red meat
  • HR (95% CIs) for cancer mortality were 1.10 (1.07-1.13) for total red meat
  • Bacon and hot dogs tended to be associated with a higher risk than other items
  • The authors performed a substitution analysis (the analysis of which is beyond my present ability/desire) that demonstrated reductions in mortality (10-14%) associated with small substitutions of  fish, poultry, legumes, or nuts in place of a serving of red meat...Amazing! 
A few super quick, tasty, easy vegetarian recipes that are amongst my staples:
Pan A, Sun Q, Berstein A, et al.  Red Meat Consumption and Mortality.  Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(7):555-563. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.2287  

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