In 1960 the meat-consumption habits of 25,153 California Seventh-Day Adventists were assessed by questionnaire. Between 1960 and 1980 ischemic heart disease deaths were identified. Meat consumption was positively associated with fatal ischemic heart disease in both men and women. This association was apparently not due to confounding by eggs, dairy products, obesity, marital status, or cigarette smoking. The positive association between meat consumption and fatal ischemic heart disease was stronger in men than in women and, overall, strongest in young men. For 45- to 64-year-old men, there was approximately a threefold difference in risk between men who ate meat daily and those who did not eat meat. This is the first study to clearly show a dose-response relationship between meat consumption and ischemic heart disease risk.