Do you chow down on bacon, sausage, steak, pork chops or cold cuts at least once a day? If so, you are more likely to bite the dust prematurely. That’s according to the first large study to analyze the link between death and a diet of red meat.  

In the 10-year study, led by Rashimi Sinha of the National Cancer Institute, researchers followed 500,000 middle-aged and elderly Americans. The participants who ate about four ounces of red meat each day—the size of a small hamburger—were more than 30 percent more likely to die during the years they were followed, mostly from cancer and heart disease.

In addition to being high in saturated fat and iron, which are believed to promote cancer, red meat also generates cancer-causing compounds when cooked.  

“It would be better to shift from red meat to white meat such as chicken and fish, which if anything is associated with lower mortality,” advised Walter Willett, a nutrition expert at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.