Eating meat and poultry regularly increases the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, pneumonia and other serious diseases, a study has found.
The study from the University of Oxford found a meat-lover who eats 70 grams of meat, processed or unprocessed, more than a peer is at 15% higher risk of heart disease, 30% more likely to get diabetes and almost a third 31% more likely to develop pneumonia in the future.
The risks of a diet packed with meat also apply to poultry, with a 30-gram daily increase in dietary fowl resulting in a 14% greater risk of diabetes. A quarter-pounder burger contains about 113 grams of beef and one chicken wing contains about 30 grams worth of meat.
The finding, published in the journal BMC Medicine, are based on an analysis of the health records of 475,000 middle-aged Britons.
Researchers stated that unprocessed red meat and processed meat may increase the risk of heart disease because they are major sources of saturated fatty acids. These can increase low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, a known risk factor for heart disease.
Lead author Dr. Keren Papier, from the University of Oxford, noted that this research is the first to assess the risk of 25 non-cancerous health conditions in relation to meat intake in one study, adding that additional research is needed to evaluate whether the differences in risk we observed in relation to meat intake reflect causal relationships.