Is Red Meat Really Detrimental To Heart Health?

We’ve heard time and time again that red meat is bad for us; compounds in it have been found to thicken the blood vessels, increase the risk of stomach and colon cancer and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, a recent review of  24 studies concludes that red meat may not be all that bad. 

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Professor Wayne Campbell, a professor of nutrition science along with Lauren O’Connor, and Jung Eun Kim of Purdue University worked together to review and analyze previous studies on red meat. The results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 

No Link To Increased Cholesterol Or Blood Pressure 

The researchers argued that previous studies concerning the health impact of eating red meat suggested that red meat consumption  ncreases the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, they do not indicate that it is specially red meat which causes declining heart health. 

It therefore concentrated on evaluating the presence of risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease – such as cholesterol and blood pressure levels, comparing their prevalence with the amount of red meat participants in the reviewed studies ate. 

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“We found that consuming more than half a serving per day of red meat, which is equivalent to a 3 ounce serving three times per week, did not worsen blood pressure and blood total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglyceride concentrations, which are commonly screened by health-care providers,” O’Connor said.

However, Campbell acknowledges that the review focuses only on specific risks that lead to a decline in heart health. 

Nevertheless, he concludes that red meat can be incorporated into a healthier diet saying “during the last 20 years, there have been recommendations to eat less red meat as part of a healthier diet, but our research supports that red meat can be incorporated into a healthier diet,’ said Campbell said.  

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“Red meat is a nutrient-rich food, not only as a source for protein but also bio-available iron,” he added.