Ditch sausages for a longer life, say Harvard scientists
Swapping a sausage for whole grain toast, a few tomatoes or a handful of nuts could lead a much longer life, research has shown.
It might seem like a simple substitution, but exchanging just a small amount of processed red meat for plant protein reduces the risk of early death by 34pc. Ditching bacon and eggs could also extend life, the study suggests.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital followed more than 130,000 people for 36 years, monitoring their diet, lifestyle, illness and mortality.
For a man, they found that switching 19g of animal protein - the equivalent of a sausage or a few slices of bacon - for nuts, vegetables, or wholegrains significantly cut the risk of early death. A woman needs to exchange just 15g from the same effect.
Substituting eggs for plant protein also led to a 19pc reduction in death risk.
In contrast, raising the animal protein share of calories by 10pc led to a 2pc higher risk of all-cause death and an 8pc greater chance of dying from a heart problem.
Animal protein foods include all types of meat, fish, eggs and dairy products such as milk and cheese. Plant sources of protein include cereals, beans, nuts, legumes, soya and bread.
The researchers analysed more than 3.5 million person-years of data in the study.
The findings are reported in 'Jama Internal Medicine'.