這項研究由美國國家癌症研究中心（National Cancer Institute）辛哈博士（Rashmi Sinha）與其團隊進行的。他們以國家衛生研究中心退休者飲食與健康研究計劃的50多萬參與者為樣本，探討紅肉涉取與死亡風險的關聯性。
針對此報告，處理全美95%紅肉與70%火雞肉的美國肉品協會（American Meat Institute）抨擊，「此研究結果所依賴的資料，僅是受訪自述過去5年吃了什麼，這種資料是有名的不可靠！」然而研究者也指出癌症與肉類的確實關聯性，如在高溫烹煮肉類時會產生包括環胺類、多環芳香烴與亞硝胺基等複合致癌物質。
People who eat more red meat and processed meats appear to have a "modestly increased risk of death" from all causes and also from cancer or heart disease over a 10-year period, finds a new study of half a million U.S. men and women who were aged 50 to 71 when the research began in 1995.
This health effect does not extend to consumption of poultry. Researchers found that a higher intake of white meat results in a slightly decreased risk for overall death and cancer death.
Rashmi Sinha, PhD, and colleagues at the National Cancer Institute at Rockville studied the association between meat intake and risk of death among more than 500,000 people who were part of the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study.
"For overall mortality, 11 percent of deaths in men and 16 percent of deaths in women could be prevented" if people decreased their red meat consumption to the lowest level, write the authors in their study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association's Archives of Internal Medicine on Monday.
For women eating processed meat at the lowest level, the decrease in cardiovascular disease mortality was about 20 percent, compared to women eating the most processed meat, the study found.
The American Meat Institute, a trade association of companies that process 95 percent of red meat and 70 percent of turkey in the United States, faulted the study for "relying on notoriously unreliable self reporting about what was eaten in the preceding five years."
But the authors point out that in relation to cancer, meat is a source of several multi-site carcinogens, including heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are both formed during high-temperature cooking of meat, as well as N-nitroso compounds.
Reducing meat consumption also will have beneficial effects on the environment, writes Barry Popkin, PhD, of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in an editorial accompanying the study. "There is a global tsunami brewing, namely, we are seeing the confluence of growing constraints on water, energy and food supplies combined with the rapid shift toward greater consumption of all animal source foods," he says.
Because there are health benefits to eating some red and white meats, although not processed meats, the consensus is not for a complete shift to vegan or vegetarian diets, Dr. Popkin concludes. "Rather, the need is for a major reduction in total meat intake, an even larger reduction in processed meat and other highly processed and salted animal source food products and a reduction in total saturated fat." Click here to read the full study results.