The Food and Drug Administration has been pushing iron-rich foods like white rice, bread and brown rice for more than a decade.
Now the agency is moving forward with plans to boost iron in some more popular foods.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that eating a diet rich in red meat increased the risk of heart disease, stroke and other health problems in a new analysis of data from more than 100,000 people.
Iron-fortification in food can lower blood sugar, lower blood pressure and lower the risk for certain cancers, but the FDA said there is no evidence it improves the health of people over 65.
“There’s no evidence that it is any more effective at preventing heart disease or other chronic diseases, and there is little evidence to suggest that it would be any more or less effective in protecting against cancers,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said.
Gottlieb added that the agency does not recommend that people limit their intake of certain foods, including red meat.
The study included data from nearly 1.2 million people between 1996 and 2013.
The researchers looked at a population of people who are part of the Medicare program, a public health insurance program for people over 50 who get benefits through their employer.
The participants were divided into groups based on their physical activity levels and their intake levels of red meat, white meat, fruit and vegetables, sugar-sweetened beverages and high-fiber cereals.
The researchers also looked at how many people were hospitalized, whether they had diabetes and whether they used blood pressure medication.
The results showed that a diet high in red meats and other red meats increased the risks of death and hospitalization.
But the researchers also found that people in the highest quartile of red meats consumption had the lowest rates of hospitalization, diabetes and use of medication.
Researchers also found a connection between the consumption of red foods and increased risk of cancer.
They looked at data from a prospective study of more than 2,500 people and found that a group of participants who consumed three servings of red-meat-rich food a day had a 32 percent increased risk for colon cancer.
“The evidence here is clear,” said Dr. Eric F. Holton, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and a member of the NIH’s National Institute on Aging.
“Red meat has the highest risk of all of the foods in this study, and it’s a group that’s at risk.”
Researchers said the findings are consistent with the National Academy of Sciences report in 2014 that said the most recent study was not enough to conclude that red meat is safe.
They also said the studies that have been published have been small, too small to show a significant relationship.
“Red meat consumption in the United States is higher than in any other country in the world,” Holton said.
“It’s a big chunk of our diet.
It’s something we eat a lot.
We know that if we’re going to have a high incidence of cancer and a high prevalence of diabetes, then we should be eating more red meat.”
The study found that red meats were associated with an increased risk in both men and women, with women eating four servings a day and men eating four.
The men and the women in the study also had similar risk for colorectal cancer, heart disease and stroke.