Life is too short to eat bad food, but what if enjoying that flank steak means a serious health decline? A new study has found that men who eat a lot of red meat could be at higher risk of diverticulitis, an inflammatory condition of the wall of the colon, UPI reported.

Read: Diets With Too Much Red Meat and Too Few Vegetables May Accelerate 'Biological Age'

Researchers carried out a long-term study of more than 46,000 male health professionals. They found that, over a span of 26 years, 764 men developed diverticulitis, and the highest risk was among those who ate an average of over 12 servings of red meat per week.

So, what’s the risk? Men who consumed more red meat were 58 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diverticulitis compared to those who averaged slightly more than one weekly serving.

"This study offers one more reason to consider limiting the red meat in your diet," said lead author Dr. Andrew Chan, MD, according to UPI.

So, what if red meat is one of your main food groups? The research team suggests that substituting one daily portion with fish or poultry could lower diverticulitis risk by 20 percent.

Read: How Red Meat Affects Your Health: 7 Reasons To Avoid Beef

“It’s easy to tell people to limit red meat, but it’s nice to be able to tell them what to eat instead,” Dr. Chan told Health. “So we evaluated other sources of animal protein, and found that these did not have an increased risk.”

Moving forward, future research will investigate if more red meat consumption is associated with the same risks in women, according to Chan.

Source: Cao Y, Strate LL, Keeley BR, Tam I, Wu K, Chan AT. Meat intake and risk of diverticulitis among men. Gut. 2017.

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Buying And Preparing Red Meat For A Healthy Diet: The Do's And Don'ts