Red meat is not bad for your heart.

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New data shows red meat has neutral effect on cardiovascular disease risk factors

Raw steak

Raw steak

Red meat has long been vilified for causing heart disease for the last 20-30 years.  Just like dairy and butter, red meat and the saturated fat contained within it has long been tied to heart disease.  New data from Purdue University indicated that consuming red meat in amounts above the nutrition guidelines does not appear to increase short-term cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as blood pressure and blood cholesterol.  

The new study from Purdue was a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs)[1].  They reviewed the data from 24 RCTs and 945 total studies that investigated the effects fo red meat on health.   Based on prior studies and meta-analysis you would expect that the study would find that meat has a negative effect on cardiovascular risk factors.  The research found the opposite and concluded that 0.5 serving of meat every day did not influence blood lipids and lipoproteins or blood pressures.  In other words, red meat containing diets did not negatively affect cardiac health.  

Recommendations on Red Meat Consumption:

  1. Red meat consumption does not appear to be tied to heart disease risk.  This research and statistics appear to clear red meat from being tied to heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol[2].  
  2. Red meat has its place in moderation within the framework of a healthy diet.  The key in choosing to be healthy is moderation[3].  
  3. Red meat and a higher fat diet are still likely a risk for colon cancer.  This is likely due to burning or grilling, but I would still recommend that you keep your fiber up and eat red meat 2-3 times a week or less.  I am still curious if the is a meat risk for a low fiber risk.  I would like to see that research[4].  
  4. Red meat ahs a place in your low carbohydrate lifestyle.  I suspect that we will find that being obese is a higher risk to your health than eating red meat 4-5 times a week but more research is needed.  
Footnotes
[1]O’Connor, Kim, and Campbell, “Total Red Meat Intake of ≥0.5 Servings/D Does Not Negatively Influence Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: A Systemically Searched Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.”
[2]O’Connor, Kim, and Campbell, “Total Red Meat Intake of ≥0.5 Servings/D Does Not Negatively Influence Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: A Systemically Searched Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.”
[3]“Nutrition Data Review Shows Red Meat Has Neutral Effect on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors.”
[4]Aykan, “Red Meat and Colorectal Cancer.”
Aykan, NF. “Red Meat and Colorectal Cancer.” Oncology Reviews 9, no. 1 (December 28, 2015): 288. [PubMed]
O’Connor, LE, JE Kim, and WW Campbell. “Total Red Meat Intake of ≥0.5 Servings/D Does Not Negatively Influence Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: A Systemically Searched Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 105, no. 1 (January 1, 2017): 57–69. [PubMed]
“Nutrition Data Review Shows Red Meat Has Neutral Effect on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors.” Science Daily, December 19, 2016. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161219202034.htm.
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About the Author

ChuckH

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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