A recent study conducted by a team from the University of Glasgow and published in the journal Aging says that if you eat a lot of red meat, your body's biological age could be much higher than your actual age.
It all comes down to serum phosphate in your body. Levels of this substance rise when you eat a lot of meat, putting "miles on your clock," the researchers say. The study linked accelerated biological aging, reduced kidney function, and chronic kidney disease to frequent red meat consumption. To make matters worse, previous studies have shown that high phosphate levels are linked to a higher risk of mortality.
The researchers analyzed the eating habits of people from the most deprived to the least deprived areas covered by NHS Greater Glasgow. So-called "deprived" males were found to be the worst affected. Researchers believe that this group is particularly hard-hit because of their poor diet and their low intake of fruits and vegetables.
Professor Paul Shields, of the University of Glasgow's Institute of Cancer Sciences, said: "Our observations indicate that elevated red meat consumption has adverse effects among deprived males… Indeed, it's notable that these effects are not apparent among less deprived males, or in females, especially in the context of a more balanced diet."
Shields went on to say, "Strikingly, many of the subjects had kidney function indicative of incipient or early onset chronic kidney disease. It has also not escaped our attention that red meat product quality and preservation may have an impact upon the diets of the most deprived and their associated health."
And guess what? The Meat Advisory Panel doesn't agree with the study. Shocking, right?
Dr. Carrie Ruxton from the Meat Advisory Panel commented that the study's conclusion "bears no relation to the evidence the researchers actually collected." She says that "dietary phosphate comes from a wide variety of sources… as noted by the authors themselves in the paper. Therefore, using a cross-sectional 'snapshot' of diet and blood samples as was the case in this study, it is impossible to say which individual dietary component was responsible for people's raised blood phosphate levels." Phosphate is, in fact, found in a variety of foods, from seeds and nuts to cheese and fish.
It's no surprise that the meat people are feeling the pain from this latest study. Not long ago, the World Health Organization said eating meat, especially processed meat, was really really bad for your health. Like maybe as bad as smoking cigarettes. And environmentalists are wondering why people don't seem to care that the industrial meat complex has been proven to be lousy for the environment.
Meat lovers, you are on notice: The scientific studies are stacking up.