Gisele Limits Red Meat; Why It’s a Good Call According to Study
On 28, Jul 2012 | In Lifestyle | By Zolie Zioli
In the June/July issue of Vogue Paris, 31-year-old supermodel Gisele Bündchen put her toned and tanned frame on display in a series of provocative poses that scream confidence.
Why wouldn’t she be? Racking up modeling gigs, spokesperson deals, and independent licensing ventures, Bündchen is again ranked by Forbes as the world’s highest paid model, earning a whopping US$45 million from May 1, 2011 to May 1, 2012 alone.
“Like I tell my five sisters, who don’t work at it very hard at all, ‘Whatever you put in, you get out.’ I’m not afraid of working hard at anything, whatever it is,” Bündchen told British Vogue last year. “I just always want to be the best that I can.”
Bündchen’s hard-working mentality extends to her health and diet. In this case, working hard means exercising her strong willpower to eat right the majority of the time. After all, the Brazilian bombshell’s hot bod and glowing skin are what keep the money rolling in!
Bündchen said she allows herself an ice cream cone or a few pieces of chocolate now and then. She rarely drinks and, despite her love for meat, eats red meat only once every 15 days or so.
What’s Wrong with Red Meat?
Why does it seem like most models and celebs on a diet are avoiding red meat like plague? Turns out, eating red meat might significantly increase the risk of developing cancer and heart disease, according to a study of more than 120,000 people carried out over 28 years.
Cancer and Heart Disease
Study indicated that eating any kind of red meat increased the chances of dying from from cancer by 10 percent and heart disease by 16 percent.
Eating processed red meat raised the risk of death from cancer by 16 percent and heart disease by 21 percent.
Over the course of the study, 9,364 people died from cancer and 5,910 from heart disease.
Aside from cancer and heart disease, the Harvard researchers found that eating red meat is also linked to an overall risk of premature death from any cause. In other words, as meat consumption increased, so did mortality risk.
For example, eating an additional serving of unprocessed red meat every day, such as a piece of steak, lamb, or pork chop about the size of a deck of cards, increased the chance of premature death by 13 percent.
Worse yet, eating an extra serving of processed red meat every day, such as one hot dog or two slices of bacon, raised the risk of premature death by 20 percent.
All Red Meat Is Risky
“Scientists aren’t sure exactly what makes red meat so dangerous, but the suspects include the iron and saturated fat in beef, pork and lamb, the nitrates used to preserve them, and the chemicals created by high-temperature cooking,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
Frank Hu, author of the study and professor of Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, US, said, “This study provides clear evidence that regular consumption of red meat, especially processed meat, contributes substantially to premature death.
Healthier Sources of Proteins
Cutting red meat out of the diet entirely led to significant benefits, study revealed, and replacing red meat with healthier sources of protein contributed to longer life. For instance, swapping nuts for beef or pork reduced mortality risk by 19 percent; low-fat dairy or legumes, 10 percent; and fish, 7 percent.
“The study calculates that lives would be saved if people replaced red meat with healthy protein sources such as fish, poultry, nuts and legumes,” said Dr. Rachel Thompson, the deputy head of science at the World Cancer Research Fund. “We would like to see more people replacing red meat with these type of foods.”
Still Want Red Meat?
The World Cancer Research Fund recommends ditching processed meat altogether and eating no more than 500 grams of red meat a week.
“Red meat can still be eaten as part of a balanced diet, but go for the leaner cuts and use healthier cooking methods such as grilling,” advised Victoria Taylor, a dietitian at the British Heart Foundation.
An Pan, author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, suggested, “If you want to eat red meat, eat the unprocessed products, and reduce it to two or three servings a week.”
Pan said he, too, eats one or two servings of red meat per week, but he doesn’t eat bacon or other processed meats.
Dr. Dean Ornish, UC San Francisco researcher and vegetarian diet advocate, said even small changes can make a difference. “Something as simple as a meatless Monday can help,” he proposed.
Is the Study Flawed?
Dr. Carrie Ruxton of the Meat Advisory Panel in the UK contended that although the study found a positive association between red meat consumption and mortality risk, “the study was observational, not controlled, and so cannot be used to determine cause and effect.”
Likewise, Carol Koprowski, a professor of preventive medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, cautioned that it can be difficult to draw definite conclusions from a study like this. She reasoned that asking study participants to remember past meals in sometimes grueling detail can lead to a lot of error in the way diet information is recorded.
What about you? Will you follow Gisele Bündchen’s lead in limiting red meat consumption, or will you dismiss the study because you believe it’s flawed?
Featured Photo: Gisele Bündchen © Vogue Paris