Top 4 Recent Articles on Red Meat and Chronic Disease

There has been an abundance of recent research being published on the impact of Red Meat on everything from Heart Disease to Cancer.  Below are our picks of the Top 4 most recent findings from the literature.

Swapping Plant Proteins for Red Meat Lowers Heart Disease Risk

Swapping plant proteins, such as nuts, for red meat, can help lower the overall risk of cardiovascular disease, according to new study results.

“Previous findings from randomized controlled trials evaluating the effects of red meat on cardiovascular disease risk factors have been inconsistent,” lead author Marta Guasch-Ferré, a researcher in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a press release. “Our new study, which makes specific comparisons between diets high in red meat versus diets high in other types of foods, shows that substituting red meat with high-quality protein sources lead to more favorable changes in cardiovascular risk factors.”

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Eating Less Than Recommended Daily Serving of Red Meat Still Associated With Cancer

Researchers found that consuming red and processed meat at an average level of 76 g/d, which is less than the current U.K. government recommendation of ≤90 g/day, was associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). Alcohol was also associated with an increased risk of CRC, whereas consumption of fiber was associated with a reduced risk. The results of the study were published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. 

The researchers used Cox-regression models to estimate adjusted hazard ratios for CRC by dietary factors in the U.K. Biobank study, which included men and women aged 40 to 69 years at recruitment between 2006 and 2010. A total of 475,581 participants completed a short food-frequency questionnaire about their diet. In addition, dietary intake was measured in a large subsample of 175,402 patients who completed an online 24-hour dietary assessment during follow-up.  

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High Animal Protein Diet Increases Mortality Risk

A recent study found that a diet rich in animal protein may be associated with a higher mortality risk. 

The study authors evaluated the relationship between dietary protein and protein sources with the risk of disease-related mortality. A total of 2,641 participants were included, who were Finnish men aged between 42 and 60 years at baseline (1984–89); 4-d dietary records were used to estimate protein intakes, and disease death data were gathered from the national Causes of Death Register. Primary outcomes included cardiovascular disease, carotid atherosclerosis, and death; secondary outcomes included type 2 diabetes, dementia, cancer, and infectious disease. Average follow-up was 22.3 years. 

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Consuming Even Small Amounts of Red and Processed Meats Increase Mortality Rates

Eating red and processed meats – even in small amounts – may moderately increase the risk of death from all causes, especially cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a study by Loma Linda University Health researchers who published their findings in Nutrients.

“A question about the effect of lower levels of intakes compared to no-meat eating remained unanswered,” said lead author Saeed Mastour Alshahrani, a doctoral student at Loma Linda University School of Public Health, in a press release. “We wanted to take a closer look at the association of low intakes of red and processed meat with all-cause, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer mortality compared to those who didn’t eat meat at all.”

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