Higher consumption of meat, longer life
Australian scientists tracked longevity in areas with varying levels of meat consumption and concluded that the average lifespan is longer as meat intake is greater. Is meat healthy after all?
Australian biological anthropologists at the University of Adelaide collected data on infant mortality up to age 5 and life expectancy of children aged 5 in 175 different countries and regions. They also collected data on meat intake in those areas and then looked to see if they could find an association between the 2.
Well, as you can see below there was an association. The higher the meat intake in an area, the higher the life expectancy and the lower the infant mortality rate.
Click on the figure for a larger version.
The researchers used statistics to remove the effect of the local average energy intake, the number of people living in a city, obesity, education and the intake of energy-rich vegetable carbohydrate foods. However, the positive effect of meat remained intact. Meat intake was almost as strong a positive factor as level of education.
The researchers suspect that the correlation they discovered is due to positive health effects of meat. Meat may not only provide energy and high-quality protein, but also all kinds of substances that support health - and are not found in plants.
But, the Australians have to admit, perhaps a high meat intake is also a result of affluence. Prosperity ensures good medical facilities and many other factors that extend life and reduce child mortality. It is not possible to brush off all those factors in this type of research. And perhaps it is this range of wealth-related factors that explains the association found.
Int J Gen Med. 2022 Feb 22;15:1833-51.
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