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Why Red Meat Causes Heart Disease


The evidence is clear and the connection between eating red meat and atherosclerotic cardio-vascular disease is well established. ASCVD is also known as heart attack, stroke and eventually heart failure. Whether you like it or not, eating more red meat and processed meat is associated with ASCVD, even later in life. But why?


A study published in ASCVD (Arterioscer Thromb Vasc Biol.)looked at 3,931 participants age 65 or older for 12 and a half years. Participants who had higher meat intake and total animal source foods, generated metabolites of dietary L-carnitine including trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). These gut microbes are linked to ASCVD and also affect systemic inflammation as well as blood glucose and insulin. Even more than cholesterol or blood pressure or saturated fat, these gut substances appeared to explain most of the association.


Higher intake of unprocessed meat (that's your Saturday steak or burger) was linked to a 15% higher incidence of ASCVD. Processed meat (ham, sausage, jerky, pepperoni,roast beef) added to regular meat increased the incidence to 22%. The linkage was dose related...more meat, more heart disease.


What can you do with this information? We've been saying for a long time that eating red meat should be limited (or not at all). Awareness is first, then behavior change. Limiting red meat is good for your body, your family and the environment. Think when you are food shopping and eating out.



Remember you do not need to get protein or iron from red meat. Grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and green leafy vegetables along with Vitamin C (found in citrus fruits, berries, kiwi, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli and cabbage) provide your body with iron.


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