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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2018 Jan 22;58(2):247-261. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2016.1158148. Epub 2017 Jun 28.

Red meat, diseases, and healthy alternatives: A critical review.

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a Department of Environmental Health , Center for Public Health, Medical University of Vienna , Vienna , Austria.
b Institute of Social Ecology, IFF Vienna, Alpen-Adria University Klagenfurt , Klagenfurt am W├Ârthersee , Austria.


Meat is an important food for human nutrition, by especially providing high-quality protein and also some essential micronutrients, in front iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. However, a high intake of red and processed meat is associated with an increased risk for diseases, especially type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer, as several epidemiological studies and meta-analyses have shown. This review summarizes meta-analyses of publications studying the association between red and processed meat intake and type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, colorectal and other cancers, and all-cause mortality. Various potential mechanisms involved in the increased disease risk are discussed. Furthermore, the beneficial effects of healthy alternatives for meat, like fish, nuts, vegetables and fruits, pulses and legumes, whole grains, and dairy products are reviewed by including selected papers and recent meta-analyses.


Red meat; cancer; cardiovascular disease; diabetes; disease; healthy foods; mortality; processed meat

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