Recently, a new study conducted by researchers from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, explores the effect of consuming processed, unprocessed, poultry and fish on the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the future and shows that meats can be harmful to the health in the long term in general.
Previously, research has already established that the consumption of processed meats can be particularly harmful to health. It can increase the risk of various health conditions ranging from hypertension, high cholesterol levels, cardiovascular disease to different types of cancers.
However, Standard American Diets seemed to be rife in red and processed meats. Scientists have deemed this rise in the consumption of such meats to be one of the factors for the increase in cancer across the US as well as the rest of the world.
On the other hand, the well-known egregious effects of consuming processed meats have also resulted in people switching from them to unprocessed meats, poultry, and fish for a better and healthier alternative.
Additionally, such steps are also followed by popular celebrities, bloggers, and beauty gurus from different parts of the world at the moment. However, some studies have also questioned the impact of consuming meat in general on health.
The association between unprocessed meats and health has not been clarified yet. Existent research has different findings depending on the type of methodology used or specific limitations.
The new research, whose findings appear in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, aims to explore this connection further. The team of researchers led by Victor W. Zhong conducted a meta-analysis of six studies that look at meat consumption and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The team analyzed the data on approximately 29,682 participants from the studies conducted in different parts of the US.
Forty-four percent of these participants were men and thirty-one percent were non-white. None of these participants suffered from or had any symptoms of cardiovascular disease at baseline.
The research on the data of the participants had looked at their health and diet from 1985 to 2002 with a thirty-year follow-up that lasted till August of 2016. During this time period, over eight thousand participants died and six thousand experienced cardiovascular events.
The main association that was observed was the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, having a cardiovascular event, and a high mortality rate with the consumption of unprocessed meats, fish, and poultry.
More precisely, the researchers looked at the increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease per every two servings of meat. To define one serving of meat, the Willett Food Frequency Questionnaire was used.
The authors explain their method in the words “1 serving was equivalent to 4 [ounces] of unprocessed red meat or poultry or 3 [ounces] of fish. For processed meat, 1 serving consisted of 2 slices of bacon, 2 small links of sausage, or 1 hot dog,”
After the analysis, it was discovered that the risk of mortality increased by three percent with every two servings of unprocessed meat. In addition, the risk of cardiovascular disease also rose by three percent with every two servings.
In the case of poultry, the increase was four percent with every two servings while consuming fish did not affect the risk. The researchers concluded that every additional serving of any meat except meat can negatively impact health.