(HealthDay News) — Men who eat a lot of red meat may have a higher risk of diverticulitis, according to a study published online Jan 9 in Gut.

The new findings are based on a long-term study of 46,461 male health professionals. Over 26 years, 764 men developed diverticulitis. The risk was highest among men who were in the top 20% for red meat intake: They were 58% more likely to be diagnosed with the condition, versus men in the bottom 20%. Men in that top group averaged over 12 servings of red meat per week, while those with the lowest consumption averaged slightly more than one weekly serving.

The team accounted for factors such as older age, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, and low fiber intake — all of which have been tied to a higher diverticulitis risk. Red meat was still linked to a higher risk — particularly unprocessed meat, such as steaks and burgers. There was no link between poultry or fish and the risk of diverticulitis.

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“Red meat intake, particularly unprocessed red meat, was associated with an increased risk of diverticulitis,” the authors write. “The findings provide practical dietary guidance for patients at risk of diverticulitis.”


  1. Cao Y, Strate LL, Keeley BR, et al. Meat intake and risk of diverticulitis among men. Gut. 9 January 2017. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2016-313082.