A new study published in medical journal Gut—and conducted by Andrew Chan, MD at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston—concluded that men who consumed large portions of red meat were at a higher risk of developing diverticulitis. The inflammatory disease is characterized by the growth of bulging sacs on intestinal lining that become infected, leading to symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, fever, pain, and cramping of the abdomen. The 26-year observational study followed 46,500 male participants between the ages of 40 and 75 divided into several groups, depending on their frequency of meat consumption. Over the course of the study, men who consumed the most meat had a 58-percent higher chance of developing diverticulitis than those who consumed the least, with each daily serving of red meat carrying an 18 percent increase in risk of developing the disease. “Our findings may provide practical dietary guidance for patients at risk of diverticulitis, a common disease of huge economic and clinical burden,” the authors stated. Consuming meat has previously been linked to increasing the risk of contracting various illnesses including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer.