The risk was particularly high for people who regularly consumed processed meats such as bacon, hot dogs, sausages and salamis.
The study, published in the prestigious medical journal Archives of Internal Medicine, said replacing just one serving of red meat with fish, chicken, low-fat dairy or whole grain foods could reduce the risk of death by 7-19 per cent.
The findings are consistent with Bowel Cancer Australia recommendations to limit red and processed meats as one way of reducing the risk of bowel cancer.
People who eat a lot of red meat each week should consider cutting back however red meat is an important source of nutrients such as iron. National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) dietary guidelines for adults recommend consuming lean red meat about three times each week.