The old saying “we are what we eat” serves to emphasize the importance of our diets. A new study has found that consuming large amounts of red meat, especially unprocessed meat leads to an increased risk of developing diverticulitis.
The study reaffirms previous findings which also indicated that high red meat consumption, and not fish or poultry leads to an increased risk of developing the diverticular disease. However, the novel aspect of the study consists in the fact that it involved longer follow-up periods as well as reviewing twice as many cases as previous studies.
This methodology allowed the researchers to finely tune their study by restricting it to the analysis of diverticulitis and exclude all other related conditions. As such, for their study, the researchers led by Dr. Yin Cao, from the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard Medical School, reviewed data from 46,461 men who ate large amounts of meat, from different types of red meat processed or unprocessed as well as fish and poultry., in order to test the risk of developing the diverticular disease.
The data was collected from the participants in the Health Professionals Follow-Up study. They were all aged between 40 to 75 years at the time of their enrollment, which took place in 1986. The men were required to answer questionnaires the total 26 years of the follow-up period. Questionnaires regarding lifestyle, medical history, demographics, and disease outcomes were required every two years while the researchers collected data on their diets every four years.
After the extensive analysis was completed, the researchers determined that the participants who ate the highest amount of red meat had 58 percent increased risk of developing diverticulitis compared to the participants who consumed the least amount of red meat. Eating unprocessed meat has an even greater risk, according to the research. Overall, a number of 764 patients developed the disease over the course of the study.
The researchers revealed that the risk of the disease increased 18 percent for serving of red meat per week, but it reached a limit after 6 serving per week. The scientists involved the study did not clarify on how red meat actually affects the disease. As such, further research is required.
What do you think about the study’s findings?
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