Health & Spirit

When red (meat) means dead

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

In the 1950s and 1960s, the American Cold War slogan (back when Vladimir Putin was learning judo in Leningrad), "Better Dead than Red" meant that anything was better than living under Communist rule, red being the de facto color of the U.S.S.R. and communism.

Fast-forward to the 21st century: A new observational study could have the slogan, "You'll be Dead if You're Eating Red (Meat, That Is)."

Researchers tracked more than 500,000 people, ages 50 to 71, over 16 years and found that the top 20 percent of red-meat eaters had a 26 percent higher risk of dying from cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, infections, or kidney or liver disease, compared with the lowest 20 percent of red-meat eaters.

But the stats on white meat (skin-free poultry and fish) delivered a nice surprise. Those who ate the most (unprocessed) white meat had a 25 percent reduced risk of mortality over the course of the study, compared with those who ate the least white meat!

On the other hand, red and white processed meats, especially those high in dietary heme iron and nitrate/nitrites were "independently associated with increased risk of all-cause mortality." They also heighten the risk for Type 2 diabetes.

Your tip? Lean, unprocessed white meat, as well as plant protein like nuts and beans, can be the foundation of a healthy diet. Opt for no more than three servings a day of 3-6 ounces of white meat and make sure to dish up seven to nine servings of fresh produce daily.



Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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