You’ve heard the mantra – eating red meat causes cardiovascular disease. You probably believe that science has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a juicy steak is a heart attack waiting to happen. But the science has actually been contradictory.
Now research coming out of Harvard School of Public Health, suggests the standard health advice to avoid red meat, might have been seriously flawed.
All meat is not created equal
When researchers analyzed the data on “red meat” consumption based on the degree it has been processed – new disease patterns emerged.
Munching processed meat, such as bacon, sausage or processed deli meats, definitely caused health problems such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. But eating meat “off the animal” so to speak, i.e. a good old fashioned steak, really is not a heart attack waiting to happen.
This stunning conclusion was reached after crunching the numbers from 20 different studies which took into account the carnivorous behaviour of 1,218,380 individuals from 10 countries on four continents (North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia).
So what is processed meat ?
Meat that has been preserved by
- Adding other chemical preservatives
This definition encompasses bacon, sausages, salami, hot dogs, cold meats etc.
So what’s “hazardous” about processed meat ?
Both processed and unprocessed meat both contain more-or-less the same amount of saturated fat and cholesterol , the ingredients we’ve all been told to avoid like the plague. Processed meat has a lot more sodium, on average 4 x the amount as well as additional preservatives.
This suggests it’s not the fat but the salt and preservatives causing the increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Salt has long been associated with cardiovascular disease. The other preservatives health effects are less clear, but animal experiments have implicated them in glucose intolerance, which contributes to diabetes.
Carnivores are off the hook
This research is good news for human carnivores – that steak for dinner is not the great heart risk you’ve been programmed to believe. Meat is okay as long as you’re following the example of nature’s carnivores – i.e. eating meat in an unprocessed form.Red and Processed Meat Consumption and Risk of Incident Coronary Heart Disease, Stroke, and Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Circulation (2010) 121:2271-2283. Renata Micha, Sarah K. Wallace, Dariush Mozaffarian.
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Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below…..