A new University of Oxford study has suggested that eating no more than three pieces of meat a week could prevent around 45,000 early deaths.
The study said processed products, such as cheap burgers or sausages, were particularly bad for people`s health because of high levels of salt and fat.
Researchers analysed the health of a people on a range of different diets. They found that lower-meat diets could cut deaths from heart disease by around 31,000, deaths from cancer by 9,000 and deaths from strokes by 5,000 each year.
Dr Mike Rayner of the Department of Public Health, University of Oxford, said lives could be saved if people ate just three portions of meat each week and slightly smaller portions of dairy.
For example a small beef steak, a chicken breast and two pork sausages. A portion of fish and eggs can also add protein.
"This research demonstrates the clear health benefits of cutting down on meat and dairy in the UK and quantifies this more comprehensively than ever before," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
The research, commissioned by `Friends of the Earth`, found processed meat is particularly unhealthy.