- Red meat is a nutrient-rich food as a source of protein and bioavailable iron.
- Previous studies state red meat consumption ups cardiovascular disease risk.
- New research suggests consuming red meat above the recommended amounts does not increase heart disease risk factors.
Red meat consumption above the recommended level does not affect short-term heart disease risk factors such as blood pressure, blood cholesterol.
"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 Wayne Campbell, professor of nutrition science.
‘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.’
While previous studies suggest that red meat consumption is linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, they are not designed to show that red meat is causing heart disease. A review and analysis of past clinical trials were conducted to detect the cause and effect between eating habits and associated health risks.
Red Meat and Lowered Heart Disease Risk
Campbell, doctoral student Lauren O'Connor, and postdoctoral researcher Jung Eun Kim screened hundreds of related research articles, focusing on studies that met specific criteria including the amount of red meat consumed, evaluation of cardiovascular disease risk factors and study design. 24 studies that met the criteria were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
The research study included mostly unprocessed beef and pork and found that 3 ounce serving of red meat three times per week did not worsen blood pressure and blood total cholesterol levels.
Campbell also said more analysis is needed as the evaluation of blood pressure and cholesterol are not the sole determinants for someone to develop cardiovascular disease. "It is also important to recognize that our findings are specific to selected indicators for cardiovascular disease risk," Campbell said. "Comparable research is needed to assess other health risk factors from clinical trials, including inflammation and blood glucose control."
Red Meat - Healthy Facts
Heart Healthy Diet
- Excellent source of high quality protein
- Loaded with vitamins and minerals
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Control your portion size.
- Select whole grain products like whole wheat flour, bread and whole grains such as brown rice, barley, buckwheat.
- Limit intake of unhealthy fats; choose fats like olive oil, canola oil, vegetable and nut oils.
- Choose low-fat protein sources like lean meat, poultry, fish, low-fat dairy products and eggs.
- Reduce the salt content in your food.
- L. E. OConnor, J. E. Kim, W. W. Campbell. In 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; American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; (2016) DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.116.142521
- Red Meat Healthy Facts - (http://www.foodinsight.org/facts-beef-red_meat-healthy)
- Heart Healthy Diet - (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-healthy-diet/art-20047702?pg=2)