Researchers at McMaster University in Canada have found that people who eat higher levels of red meat and cheese are more likely to live longer.
The study of 220,000 adults found that eating three portions of dairy and one and half portions of unprocessed red meat a day could cut the risk of early death by one quarter. The chances of a fatal heart attack decreased by 22 percent, according to the study.
The research analysed the effect on health of a range of diets around the world.
It suggests that a healthy diet should contain plenty of fruits and vegetables, fish and legumes as well as unprocessed meats and dairy.
The researchers, whose work is published in The Lancet, say their findings “challenge conventional thinking” around what constitutes a healthy diet by recommending dairy and unprocessed red meat.
British Heart Foundation associate medical director, Professor Jeremy Pearson commented on the research: “Meat and dairy can contribute to a healthy, balanced diet as long as they’re eaten in moderation along with plenty of fruits and vegetables, pulses, wholegrains and nuts.”
The study also listed white meats like chicken and turkey as also carrying similar benefits.