Is red meat bad for you or not?

Is red meat bad for you or not?

Last year, an international study came under scrutiny for suggesting that reducing how much red and processed meat you eat might not have the obvious health benefits that has long been thought.

But now, now, researchers from a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association again found that eating red meat does increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.

What are the facts?

Dr. Mahesh Raju, cardiologist at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, identifies three things you should know about eating red and processed meats in light of this latest research.

Eating red meat, processed meat or poultry increases risk of heart disease

“With the exception of fish, a high intake of red and processed meats and poultry is linked with higher risk for heart disease,” says Dr. Raju. “This means eating two or more servings a week of processed or unprocessed meat or poultry – which is high in fat and cholesterol – can lead to heart disease.”

The American Heart Association recommends a serving size of meat to be 3 ounces (roughly a deck of cards).

What is processed and unprocessed meat?

“Processed meat is in some way preserved,” says Dr. Raju. “This also includes flavoring through salting, curing, fermenting and smoking.”

An example of foods that are processed include:

  • Ham
  • Sausage
  • Hot dogs
  • Deli meats

Eating processed meats also increases your chances of colorectal cancer because of the chemicals used to preserve the meat.

Prioritize fruits and vegetables.

To reduce your risk of heart attack, eat fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds while limiting most meat, says Dr. Raju.

For healthier protein options, choose chicken or turkey breast that is baked, grilled or roasted and never smoked. Fish baked or grilled is a great option along with plant proteins like beans, legumes and soy.

In addition to limiting your intake of red meat, fried foods and sugar-sweetened beverages should also be restricted.

Know your risk of heart disease and stay proactive by taking a free heart health quiz.

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Comments

8 Comments

  1. “This means eating two or more servings a week of processed or unprocessed meat or poultry – which is high in fat and cholesterol – can lead to heart disease.”

    Now chicken and turkey are included in the list of not so good for you meat?

  2. I think this article is very deceiving. I have lost a considerable amount of weight eating seafood and grass fed beef as my primary sources of protein and my cholesterol has gone down. This article does not account for grass fed organic meat and if that makes a difference, it should address that. The idea that one would consume 2 servings or less of any meat besides fish in a week is unreasonable based on the economics alone.

  3. I am not sure why this article putting “processed meat” and “other meat” to the same category. There is a very big difference. Lean chicken was supposed to be lower on cholesterol. Why it took years of research to find out that poultry and beef have equally high cholesterol?

  4. The article doesn’t address any of the benefits of a low-carbohydrate diet, where your prioritize protein and use fat as your primary fuel source. Nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all science, and they shouldn’t be making such blanket statements about meat. This smacks of the food pyramid, which has been completely debunked.

  5. This is yet another study conducted using the tragically flawed methodology of nutrition epidemiology. Nutrition epidemiology studies are not scientific experiments; they are wildly inaccurate, questionnaire-based guesses (hypotheses) about the possible connections between foods and diseases. This approach has been widely criticized as scientifically invalid, yet continues to be used by influential researchers at prestigious institutions.
    The hypotheses generated are often prematurely trumpeted to the public as implicit fact in the form of media headlines, and dietary guidelines. Tragically, more than 80% of these guesses are later proved wrong in clinical trials. With a failure rate this high, nutrition epidemiologists would be better off flipping a coin to decide which foods cause human disease.
    The truth is that there is no human clinical trial evidence tying red meat to any health problem.
    It’s time to stop bashing red meat because I’m convinced by the science, that animal foods are essential to optimal human health.
    To the best of my knowledge, there has never been a human clinical trial designed to test the health effects of simply removing animal foods from the diet, without making any other diet or lifestyle changes such as eliminating refined carbohydrates and other processed foods. Unless and until such research is conducted demonstrating clear benefits to this strategy, the assertion that human beings would be healthier without animal foods remains an untested hypothesis with clear risks to human life and health.

  6. Dr. Tony Hampton

    Confusion as JAMA releases an observational study that reviewed six different trials and found there was an association between red meat/processed meat and CVD.

    Should we trust the results of this study?

    Imagine six trails where questionnaires (FFQ) are sent out, and the questions ask respondents to remember what they ate over the last year. Based on the responses, they review the illness that occurs over time and use that information to find any associations with meat consumed and the illnesses they got.

    Do you remember how many ounces of rib-eye you ate six months ago?

    It was also found in this study that the meat-eaters were more likely to:

    1) Smoke cigarettes
    2) Drink alcohol
    3) Eat more than 1100 calories more than those who ate less meat
    4) Have overall unhealthy eating habits

    It’s hard to determine; rather, it was the meat or these other factors that caused increased illness risk. Your dietary decisions should not be based on “Low-Quality Evidence”!

    Until the studies are double-blind clinical studies that show causation, I suggest you enjoy your steak.

    A video that provides similar talking points to question the JAMA article:

    https://lnkd.in/eY7cd4b

  7. Dr. Tony Hampton

    Agree!

  8. Dr. Tony Hampton

    Agree. Was the animals grass fed verses grain fed? Too often studies are not distinguishing between these nuances that matter.

About the Author

Neda Veselinovic
Neda Veselinovic

Neda Veselinovic, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. She has more than five years of public relations experience and most recently worked with clients in the travel and hospitality industries. She prefers to spend her time with a cup of coffee and a good read and always welcomes book recommendations.