The trouble is that most people who eat a diet primarily of processed and red meats, eggs and dairy don’t take good care of their health, say researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital.
It’s better to eat a diet of vegetables, fish and white meats such as chicken, and people who already do so are also more likely to have a healthier lifestyle anyway.
On the face of it, the link between premature death and a diet of red and processed meats is ‘weak’, say the researchers, but it gets amplified when other bad habits—such as not exercising, smoking or drinking too much—get added to the mix.
And when that happens, the risk is very strong, say the researchers, who explored the health and diets of more than 170,000 participants for 30 years. During that time, more than 36,000 of the study group died from heart disease, cancer or other causes.
If you do smoke, drink too much or don’t exercise then, at the very least, start eating more vegetables and fish—it might just save your life, they say.