For a long time, the debate about red meat has raged on. Is it ever healthy to eat red meat or should you avoid it at all costs? Is a lean steak cut preferable to, say, a fried chicken thigh in terms of nutritional value? The issues are endless. But, according to a new study there is an answer.
According to the study, eating red meat increased the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by a significant amount. To put it another way, most people should be cautious about how much red meat they eat, but especially those who have heart problems.
Researchers collected blood samples and determined the metabolites’ levels in this study. Blood sugar, blood pressure, inflammation, and cholesterol were other factors monitored. Researchers examined whether these factors influenced heart disease risk as well.
The research was based on data from participants in a prior cardiovascular disease study. Researchers compared what the risk of CVD were among people who ate various amounts of animal-sourced meals, including processed meat, red meat, fish, chicken, and eggs.
The final study, which analyzed data from more than a million people, found that consuming more red and processed meat was connected to an increased risk of atherosclerotic CVD. That came out to a 22% higher chance for each 1.1 servings per day on average. Beef, bison, pork, and deer were among the red meats investigated.
The study authors discovered that a diet rich in processed meat was associated with an increased risk of stroke. One-tenth of this raised danger was attributed to the rise in the blood metabolite trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), which is produced by gut bacteria to process red meat. The same may be said for other related compounds identified.
Inflammation and high blood sugar, according to the study, might also contribute to the increased heart risk linked with red meat consumption. Cholesterol and blood pressure were two factors that were not linked.
“This study had a huge number of participants, was done over many years, and is therefore more useful,” says Molly Hembree.
According to Dr. Hembree, CVD is still the number one killer of Americans. She feels that the development of nutritional research in this area is fascinating.
“It’s great to remember that researchers were able to determine that the change in this gut microbe metabolite is about 10% of increased CVD risk,” she adds. “It is a good reminder that a lot of health behaviors are important. Not only did I reduce my red meat consumption, but I also lowered my CVD risk.”