A new study, published in the British Medical Journal, now finds that cutting down on meat and replacing it with fish could reduce the risk of early death.
According to the study, replacing meat with fish cuts the risk of dying over the next eight years by 17 per cent while replacing red meat with skinless chicken or vegetables slashes risk by 10 per cent, eggs by 8 per cent and whole grains by 12 per cent.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the study, conducted by a research team from Harvard University, cutting out processed meats from the diet has even greater benefits. Turns out, replacing two slices of bacon, a single sausage, or a daily ham sandwich, with fish, cuts risk of mortality by 25 per cent. If it is replaced by chicken then the risk of death goes down by 17 per cent and veggie diet cuts it by 18 per cent.
The study saw researchers tracking 81,000 people in the US, tracking their changing eating habits for over eight years and then a further eight to see how it affected their health.
Results showed that people who increased their red and processed meat intake by at least half a serving per day over the eight-year period had a 10 per cent higher risk of dying in the subsequent eight-year period. However, those who dropped the intake of red meat, replacing it with the leaner chicken and fish, saw their risk of death fall.
Earlier studies have already associated the consumption of red and processed meat to an increased risk of type-2 diabetes heart disease and bowel cancer.
Speaking to Daily Mail, lead author of the study, Professor Frank Hu said the study suggested a ‘Mediterranean’ diet which focuses on fish, beans and vegetables are probably the best way of avoiding an early death.