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In a recent study, scientists from Australia, Italy, Poland, and Switzerland set out to look into the links between meat consumption and life expectancy. What they found was a correlation between the two that might shock you.

First and foremost, the researchers, including lead researcher Dr. Wenpeng You says that life expectancy is a number that synthetically describes mortality among the population. According to him, “It is estimated that 20-30% of human life expectancy is determined by genetic factors, and 70-80% is determined by environmental factors.”

He goes on to say that at 5-years-old, our life expectancy is majorly influenced by genetics.

For quite some time, the effect of our diet and nutrition on our health has been debated. For the purpose of the study, the researchers took data from 175 countries across the world, that had been gathered by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.

According to their findings, the countries that had a higher meat intake had a higher life expectancy. Based on this, the researchers concluded that the two were related.

The FAO shows the leading meat-consuming countries like Hong Kong, the US, Australia, Argentina, and Spain. In comparison, the bottom five were Ethiopia, Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burundi.

The researchers assert that their “population-based” study provides an accurate link between longevity and meat. However, the difference between these two groups does account for many other differences that could also add to the longevity of these five nations.

First and foremost it’s worth noting, that many of the nations listed in the latter five do not have clean water or public health offerings. Additionally, there are many other differences between first-world and third-world nations.

While I won’t say that their article did find links between meat consumption and longevity, I feel like this study is largely skewed and there are many other things to consider. Additionally, it’s worth noting that in the study itself, they cite the Lancet Public Health dietary advice and say that the LPH suggests eating an increase of meat.

Upon further inspection, the LPH says to eat a diet that is 50% carbohydrates, in a balanced diet that includes “fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, fish, dairy, and unprocessed meats- all in moderation.” Additionally, the LPH says, “A diet rich in plant-based foods and with fewer animal source foods confers both improved health and environmental benefits.”

This statement is in stark contradiction to what the study says, yet they cite this as a credible source.

You can read the study for yourself in the International Journal of General Medicine.