Eating any amount of any kind of red meat on a regular basis raises your chances of dying early, according to Harvard researchers who may not find themselves invited to many barbecues this summer. The study—which looked at the eating habits and health of more than 100,000 adults over more than 20 years—found that those who substituted nuts, poultry, or fish for red meat were less likely to die during the course of the study, while adding a single daily serving of processed red meat, such as one hot dog, raised the risk of dying 20%, reports the Los Angeles Times. An extra three-ounce daily serving of unprocessed red meat raised the risk of dying prematurely 13%.
Previous studies had linked red meat consumption to diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. In an editorial accompanying the study, healthy eating expert Dean Ornish stresses the importance of reducing red meat consumption, although he says a healthy diet doesn't have to be entirely meat-free. "It’s not all or nothing,” he tells Bloomberg. “To the degree you make red meat more of a treat or more of a condiment, and substitute other things for it, you’re going to look better, feel better, lose weight, and gain health." (Read more red meat stories.)