Once again, food scientists have found evidence that the things we love dearest will kill us all—specifically red meat and dairy products. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have recently finished analyzing over 30 years of data sourced from more than 170,000 patient participants and determined that animal protein, when compared to other plant sources like breads, beans, and nuts, are associated with an increased rate of death.

Researchers were inspired by previous studies that suggested swapping out carbohydrates for protein can make weight management easier and promote healthy blood pressure levels. The question pursued by MGH's team, then was which specific types of protein had the most benefit? After adjusting for lifestyle and other dietary risk factors, plant proteins were found to lower the likelihood of death, while animal meats and dairy slightly increased patient mortality rate.

Before you throw your steak in the trash, though, there are a couple of silver linings. "More careful analysis revealed that the association of animal protein intake with an elevated mortality risk only applied to participants with at least one factor associated with an unhealthy lifestyle -- being either obese or underweight, heavy alcohol consumption, a history of smoking, or physical inactivity," the study's authors wrote, meaning that so long as you're staying away from cigarettes, handles of Karkov vodka, and getting a little bit of exercise you needn't stress about that extra layer of queso on your beef-baked nachos. Also, the association between animal meats, dairy, and a higher death rate is categorized as "weak" to begin with.

"In fact, the association disappeared in participants with a healthy lifestyle. Analysis based on specific sources of protein indicated that the animal-protein-associated mortality risk applied primarily to processed and unprocessed red meats, which include both beef and pork products, and not to protein from fish or poultry," the study found.

We know it's the weekend and this news is a bit of a downer, but you've still got some choices here. Live a healthy lifestyle and enjoy the occasional pork chop and camambert without any guilt, or be a couch potato and stick to vegan soul food.