image(CNN) Mounting evidence continues to suggest that eating too much red meat — such as bacon and hot dogs — is linked with health problems.
A new study finds that changes in your red-meat-eating habits can be tied to your risk of early death. An increase in red meat consumption of at least half a serving per day was linked with a 10% higher risk of early death in the study, published in the medical journal BMJ on Wednesday. Replacing red meat with other protein sources may help you live longer, the study found.

Photos: Which of your food habits is most dangerous? Photos: Which of your food habits is most dangerous? Not eating enough fruit led to to an estimated 7.

5% diet-related “cardiometabolic deaths” in 2012, the researchers said in a recent study in JAMA . Two servings of fruit are recommended each day. A serving would equal one whole fruit, such as an entire banana, or one cup equivalent. Hide Caption 1 of 10 Photos: Which of your food habits is most dangerous? Vegetables are another necessary part of a healthy diet, with a recommendation of 2½ cups each day. Not eating enough vegetables led to to an estimated 7.

6% of diet-related deaths, such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, in 2012. Overall, a larger proportion of men than women died early due to diet-related causes, which researchers say is consistent with generally unhealthier eating habits of men. Hide Caption 2 of 10 Photos: Which of your food habits is most dangerous? Nuts and seeds are high-protein foods that naturally come in nutrient-dense forms. The recommendation for healthy eating includes 5.5 ounces of protein-rich foods, such as walnuts, each day. Not eating enough nuts and seeds led to an estimated 8.

5% of diet-related cardiometabolic deaths in 2012. Hide Caption 3 of 10 Photos: Which of your food habits is most dangerous? A healthy diet includes eating whole grains (such as brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat and oats) while limiting your intake of refined grains (white rice and white flour) and products made with refined grains, such as bread and pasta. Too few whole grains (and too many refined grains) led to to an estimated 5.9% of all diet-related deaths due to heart problems, stroke and diabetes during 2012. Hide Caption 4 of 10 Photos: Which of your food habits is most dangerous? Oils provide essential fatty acids and vitamin E. Oils, which are liquid at room temperature, should replace solid fats, such as butter, rather than being added to the diet. Not replacing solid fats with oils led to to an estimated 2.3% of all diet-related deaths caused by heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes during 2012.

Hide Caption 5 of 10 Photos: Which of your food habits is most dangerous? Seafood is rich in omega-3 fats, which are good for your heart and brain. Not eating enough seafood led to to an estimated 7.8% of diet-related deaths due to cardiometabolic factors during 2012. For the general population, dietary guidelines recommend 8 ounces a week of a variety of seafood.

Hide Caption 6 of 10 Photos: Which of your food habits is most dangerous? The leading diet-related factor linked to a death caused by heart disease, stroke or type 2 diabetes was high sodium. Eating too much salty food led to an estimated 9.5% of all diet-related deaths in 2012. People over the age of 65, in particular, were most likely to be victims this tiny yet mighty killer. Hide Caption 7 of 10 Photos: Which of your food habits is most dangerous? Too much red meat led to to an estimated 4.2% of diabetes-related deaths during 2012. It’s included in the recommended 5.

5 daily ounces of protein-rich foods.

In addition to protein, meat provides important nutrients such as iron, copper, zinc, selenium, choline, phosphorous, B vitamins (including niacin and riboflavin), vitamin D and vitamin E. Hide Caption 8 of 10 Photos: Which of your food habits is most dangerous? Deaths related to processed meats were higher among men than women. Too much processed meat, including bacon, led to to an estimated 8.2% of all diet-related deaths, primarily heart disease and diabetes, during 2012.

Hide Caption 9 of 10 Photos: Which of your food habits is most dangerous? More men than women contributed to the total deaths associated with drinking too many sugar-sweetened beverages. Too many sugary beverages led to to an estimated 7.4% of all early, diet-related deaths during 2012. For people between the ages of 25 and 64, sodas and other sugary drinks were associated with early deaths more than any other single dietary factor. Hide Caption 10 of 10 “The data suggest that replacing red meat with other protein sources, such as poultry, fish, nuts, legumes and whole grains and even vegetables, can reduce the risk of premature death,” said Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health , who was senior author of the study.

“What we found is that increasing the consumption of red meat is associated with higher mortality risk, and the risk is particularly high for people who increased their consumption of processed red meat,” he said.

Read More ‘This is where nutrition research gets exciting’ The study involved data on the eating habits and mortality risk of 53,553 women and 27,916 men in the United States between 1986 and 2010. The data, which came from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study , tracked how much red meat and other foods each adult ate daily every four years using self-reported questionnaires, and then calculated change in eating habits over time. Deaths from any cause in the data were confirmed using state records and the national death index, among other sources. Thousands of cancer diagnoses tied to a poor diet, study finds After analyzing the diet and death data, the researchers found that within eight years, an increase of at least half a serving per day of processed and unprocessed red meat was associated with 13% and 9% higher risk of early death, respectively. A decrease in eating red meats and an increase in eating whole grains, vegetables or other protein sources was associated with a lower risk of death over eight years, the researchers found.

“When people reduce their red meat consumption and eat other protein sources — and also plant-based foods — instead, they have lower risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality,” Hu said. Photos: 6 sources of plant-based protein Photos: 6 sources of plant-based protein Soy – A new study suggests that eating plant protein can lower your risk of death, while eating meat is associated with an increased risk of death.

Soy serves as a source of protein, such as in the form of tofu. Hide Caption 1 of 6 Photos: 6 sources of plant-based protein Whole grains – Whole grains include plant-based proteins. Hide Caption 2 of 6 Photos: 6 sources of plant-based protein Nuts and nut butter – Nuts and nut butters, such as peanut butter or almond butter, contain plant protein. Hide Caption 3 of 6 Photos: 6 sources of plant-based protein Leafy greens – Leafy greens are also a good source of plant protein.

Hide Caption 4 of 6 Photos: 6 sources of plant-based protein Quinoa – People trying to cut back on meat might try quinoa as a source of plant-based protein. Hide Caption 5 of 6 Photos: 6 sources of plant-based protein Brown rice – Brown rice can pack a punch of protein. Hide Caption 6 of 6 The study provides “valuable and informative” data regarding the associations of red meat with poor health outcomes, said Dr.

Heather Fields, an internal medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, who was not involved in the research. “We’ve also seen that replacing red and processed meats with other protein sources has been associated with decreased risk of mortality in this study and in past studies,” Fields said. “Keeping these findings in mind, we can now shift focus on which foods we can add to the diet to improve longevity and decrease risk of chronic diseases,” she said. “In addition, how can we prepare these foods to optimize nutrient intake while improving palatability and make healthy eating more enjoyable? This is where nutrition research gets exciting.” Processed meats linked to breast cancer, says study Shalene McNeill, executive director of human nutrition research for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, noted that the data in the study is more than 20 years old and said it might not be representative of eating habits today. “Beef’s high-quality protein, iron, and zinc strengthen a balanced diet and complement the nutrients found in plant foods.” The study had some limitations, including that the dietary data was self-reported and that the participants were mainly registered nurses and health professionals.

More research is needed to determine whether similar findings would emerge among a more diverse group of people. The study also pointed to an association between increasing eating red meat and subsequent mortality risk, but did not necessarily find causality. More research is needed to determine a causal relationship. However, Hu said that previous research has shown that higher amounts of saturated fat, heme iron, preservatives and other components in meat may contribute to adverse health outcomes. Separate studies have also linked red meat to unfavorable changes in the gut microbiome, which is the ecosystem of bacteria and microbes in your gut.

Turning a spotlight on red meat “The lower or lack of association between red meat intake and mortality in other countries or areas of the world indicates that red meat may contribute to mortality in the United States by providing a high protein content but also because it may contain other factors that contribute to damage,” said Valter Longo, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Southern California and director of the USC Longevity Institute, who was not involved in the study. Get CNN Health’s weekly newsletter Sign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.

He went on to question the concentration of hormones or antibiotics in red meat in the United States compared with other countries, such as Japan or those in Europe. “The reduced mortality when red meat is replaced with fish is consistent with this possibility since they contain generally similar levels of proteins,” he said, suggesting that the content of red meat in the United States might be a factor driving the mortality link.

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