EATING too much red meat and not enough vegetables increases the "biological age" of your body, warns new research.

The study, based on people in Glasgow, showed a diet containing excessive amounts of red meat and not enough fruit or vegetables also contributes to a range of health problems, including kidney disease.

The research, published in the journal Aging, found that a moderate increase in serum phosphate levels caused by eating red meat, combined with a poor overall diet, increases biological age – or miles on the clock.

The study, which looked at participants from the most deprived to the least deprived parts of the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area, also showed that the financially poorest men were the worst affected.

Figures from the study suggests that accelerated biological ageing, and dietary-derived phosphate levels among the most deprived males, were directly related to how often they ate red meat.

The researchers believe that excess red meat particularly affects that group because of their poor diet and “sub-optimal fruit and vegetable intake".

The research, led by Glasgow University’s Institute of Cancer Sciences, also found that high phosphate levels in deprived men correlated with reduced kidney function and even underlying mild to moderate chronic kidney disease.

Professor Paul Shiels said: “Our observations indicate that elevated red meat consumption has adverse effects amongst deprived males, who already have a poor diet and eat less fruit and vegetables than recommended.

“We think in this group the effects of high serum phosphate intake may be exacerbated.

"Indeed it’s notable that these effects are not apparent among less deprived males, or in females, especially in the context of a more balanced diet.”

Phosphate is naturally present in basic foodstuffs, including meats, fish, eggs, dairy products and vegetables.

However, high phosphate levels, as a consequence of dietary intake, have already been linked to higher all-cause and cardiovascular mortality risk, premature vascular ageing and kidney disease.

Mr Shiels added: “Strikingly, many of the subjects had kidney function indicative of incipient or early onset chronic kidney disease.

“It has also not escaped our attention that red meat product quality and preservation may have an impact upon the diets of the most deprived and their associated health.”

The researchers observed significant relationships between serum phosphate and biological age markers, including DNA content and telomere length, which decreases with age and is said to be a marker of someone's biological age.

In Glasgow, the difference in life expectancy between affluent and the most deprived communities is 14 years for men and 11 years for women.

The research, part of work originally funded by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, was carried out in conjunction with the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.