Scientists Have Finally Discovered Why Consuming Red Meat Causes Cancer


Many people grew up being urged to eat pork, beef, and dairy products for their health, but in recent years have received advice to cut back on animal products especially red meat. 

According to a number of studies, the consumption of red meat is linked with increased risk for cancer(s), atherosclerosis (heart disease), stroke, Alzheimer’s, and even Type II Diabetes…  But until now, researchers have not exactly understood why.

As The Telegraph reports, scientists from the University of California in San Diego believe it mainly has to do with sugar. 

While humans, as omnivores, can tolerate eating meat (and have been doing so for many years, but not in the quantity witnessed today) there is unique sugar named Neu5Gc, found in most mammals but not in humans, that triggers an immune responsewhich causes inflammation.

Mice were used for the study which found that all the evidence linking Neu5Gc to cancer was circumstantial or indirectly predicted from experimental setups. According to the scientists, this is the first time they mimicked the exact situation in humans through feeding non-human Neu5Gc and inducing anti-Neu5Gc antibodies. This increased spontaneous cancer in mice.

This sugar can be found in red meats (pork, beef, and other livestock), cow’s milk and certain cheeses. Because the human body is not capable of producing this sugar naturally when the sugar is absorbed into the tissues, it is perceived as a foreign invader and activates the immune system. It is suspected that over time, the chronic inflammation caused by the immune system response plays a role in the development of cancer.

Thus, those who consume red meat on a regular basis are likely to suffer a stronger reaction than those who ingest red meat occasionally.

Source:http://livetheorganicdream.com

Eating too much red meat ‘can age the body’, researchers claim


Scientists an increase in levels of serum phosphate in the body caused by red meat consumption increases your ‘miles on the clock’, or biological age

The study suggested accelerated biological ageing and diet-related phosphate levels was directly related to red meat consumption.
The study suggested accelerated biological ageing and diet-related phosphate levels was directly related to red meat consumption.

Eating too much red meat and not enough fruit and vegetables could increase the body’s “biological age” and contribute to health problems, according to researchers.

Scientists found that a moderate increase in levels of serum phosphate in the body caused by red meat consumption, combined with a poor overall diet, increases your biological age – your “miles on the clock” – in contrast to your chronological or actual age.

The project, led by a team at the University of Glasgow, analysed people from the most deprived to the least deprived areas covered by NHS Greater Glasgow.

The results suggested accelerated biological ageing and diet-related phosphate levels among the most deprived males were directly related to their frequency of red meat consumption. This was linked to reduced kidney function and chronic kidney disease.

High phosphate levels have previously been linked to higher mortality risk, premature vascular ageing and kidney disease.

Scientists Have Finally Discovered Why Consuming Red Meat Causes Cancer


Until recently, the reason WHY red meat causes cancer hasn’t been understood. But this breakthrough changes everything…

Many people grew up being urged to eat pork, beef, and dairy products for their health, but in recent years have received advice to cut back on animal products especially red meat. 

scientists-have-finally-discovered-why-consuming-red-meat-causes-cancer

According to a number of studies, the consumption of red meat is linked with increased risk for cancer(s), atherosclerosis (heart disease), stroke, Alzheimer’s, and even Type II Diabetes…  But until now, researchers have not exactly understood why.

As The Telegraph reports, scientists from the University of California in San Diego believe it mainly has to do with sugar. 

While humans, as omnivores, can tolerate eating meat (and have been doing so for many years, but not in the quantity witnessed today) there is unique sugar named Neu5Gc, found in most mammals but not in humans, that triggers an immune response which causes inflammation.

Mice were used for the study which found that all the evidence linking Neu5Gc to cancer was circumstantial or indirectly predicted from experimental setups. According to the scientists, this is the first time they mimicked the exact situation in humans through feeding non-human Neu5Gc and inducing anti-Neu5Gc antibodies. This increased spontaneous cancer in mice.

This sugar can be found in red meats (pork, beef, and other livestock), cow’s milk and certain cheeses. Because the human body is not capable of producing this sugar naturally when the sugar is absorbed into the tissues, it is perceived as a foreign invader and activates the immune system. It is suspected that over time, the chronic inflammation caused by the immune system response plays a role in the development of cancer. 

Thankfully, great alternative foods exist to satiate your desire for a juicy hamburger. For example, the ‘Impossible Burger’ is renowned as one of the best ‘veggie burgers’ available, and there are great ways to make your own plant-based burgers at home.

In conclusion, it seems clear that those who limit their intake of red meats are assured a healthier – and less inflamed – life.

The Link Between Red Meat and Cancer: What You Need to Know


If you’re a meat lover, you’ve probably heard the news by now: A report published in The Lancet Oncology on Monday says that processed meats, like hot dogs, ham and sausage, cause colon cancer and that red meat probably causes the disease.

The link between certain types of meat and some forms of cancer, particularly colon cancer, isn’t new. Scientific evidence has been accumulating for decades that colon cancer is more common among people who eat the most red meat and processed meat.

Red meat includes beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse and goat. Processed meat is meat preserved by smoking, curing, salting, or adding chemical preservatives. Examples of processed meat include bacon, ham, sausage and hot dogs.

What’s making headlines right now is that the pronouncement comes from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a well-known and respected agency of the World Health Organization. The IARC evaluated more than 800 studies that looked at the association of cancer with eating  processed meat or red meat.  The studies looked at more than a dozen types of cancer in populations with diverse diets over the past 20 years.

Processed meat a definite

The IARC classified processed meat as a “definite” cause of cancer, or a Group 1 carcinogen – the same group that includes smoking and alcohol.

The agency made no specific dietary recommendations and said it did not have enough data to define how much processed meat is too dangerous. But it said the risk rises with the amount consumed — each 50-gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent.

Experts have long warned of the dangers of certain chemicals used to cure meat, such as nitrites and nitrates, which the body converts into cancer-causing compounds.

The evidence so far suggests that it’s probably the processing of the meat, or chemicals naturally present within it, that increases cancer risk, says Alok Khorana, MD, Director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Program at Cleveland Clinic.

“Processed meats fall into the same category that cigarette smoking does with lung cancer,” Dr. Khorana says. “In other words, it’s an item that causes cancer at some point in the future if you consume high amounts.”

The Link Between Red Meat and Cancer: What You Need to Know

Confidence level

It’s important to know that this classification merely shows the level of confidence the IARC has in its belief that processed meat causes cancer, Dr. Khorana says — not how much cancer that processed meat causes or how potent a carcinogen it is. And so, hot dogs are not equally as dangerous as cigarettes — the two only share a confirmed link to cancer, in the IARC’s opinion.

The IARC classified red meat as “probably” carcinogenic, or cancer-causing. This was based on limited evidence that eating red meat causes cancer in humans and strong evidence supporting a carcinogenic effect, Dr. Khorana says. Previous studies also have shown that grilling or smoking meat can create suspected carcinogens.

While the IARC said red meat contains some important nutrients, it still noted that red meat has an established link to colon, prostate and pancreatic cancers.

 

What to do

Research has shown that what you eat can play a large role in your risk for developing colorectal cancer. For example, one recent study showed that a diet of mostly fruits, vegetables and a moderate amount of fish appears to offer the most protection against developing colorectal cancer.

The study showed a pesco-vegetarian diet — dominated by fruits and vegetables and including a moderate amount of fish —  is associated with a 45 percent reduced risk for colorectal cancers compared to people whose diets include meat. A good example of a pesco-vegetarian diet is the Mediterranean diet, Dr. Khorana says.

“A healthy diet is good for your overall outcomes and your cardiovascular health. It turns out now that it’s also good for preventing cancer,” Dr. Khorana says.

Buying And Preparing Red Meat For A Healthy Diet: The Do’s And Don’ts


Americans love red meat — from fine cuts of steaks, char-grilled burgers, and barbecued ribs, to processed hot dogs, greasy bacon, and motley bologna. Red meat consumption is at an all-time high in America, rising from an annual consumption of 80 pounds of meat per person in 1940 to more than 180 pounds per person in 2012. But is it all bad? According to the Unites States Department of Agriculture (USDA), there are ways to keep red meat in your diet while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Meat Purchasing

When the World Health Organization announced an international team of scientists concluded red meat-laden diets were carcinogenic in 2015, carnivores questioned their diets. The findings, which reviewed more than 800 studies on the link between cancer and meat consumption, led meat eaters to wonder if the shift to a more plant-based diet would decrease their odds of developing colon, stomach, pancreatic, and prostate cancer in men.

Although red meat has been associated with an increased risk of cancer, the USDA allots 2 to 3 ounces of meat (roughly 21 grams of protein) to serve as a protein during a meal, which is roughly the size of a deck of playing cards or the palm of your hand. According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, red meat is an excellent source of iron — an essential mineral responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood. Without an adequate amount of iron, the body is at risk for a condition called iron deficiency anemia, which can be especially dangerous for children because it can lead to poor growth and development, and may negatively effect cognitive abilities.

But that doesn’t mean you can eat a few slices of bacon every night because the serving size fits into the palm of your hand. Bacon, hot dogs, and cold cuts are all forms of processed meats, which carry the heaviest toll of cancer risk. Studies have shown consuming 50 grams of processed meat a day significantly increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes. A Big Mac from McDonald’s, for example, consists of two beef patties that weigh in at 45.4 grams each for a whopping total of 90.8 grams of processed meat.

Navigating The Meat Market

By avoiding processed meat and sticking with lean cuts of red meat, carnivores can cut down on their risk of cancer. When walking down the grocery store aisle, look for cuts with “round,” “chuck,” or “loin” in their name, which indicates it’s a lean cut of meat. As a rule of thumb, beef labeled with “select” or “choice” are leaner compared to cuts labeled with “prime.” When buying ground beef, consumers should look for the highest percent of lean beef content, such as 95 percent lean as opposed to 75 percent lean.

After selecting a piece of meat, it’s useful to examine the cut to spot any visible fat. The white along the side of the cut can be trimmed off. Trimming any cut of meat is an important part of the process, but if the fat is marbled throughout the meat (resembling little, white veins) it should be avoided altogether. After trimming the fat with a sharp knife, cut the meat into 3 ounce portions to make controlling the amount you eat an easier process.

For cooking, red meat is often seasoned and then seared, braised, or grilled. Instead of increasing your sodium consumption by sprinkling it onto a slab of meat, choose salt-free alternatives like ground peppercorn, paprika, garlic, chili powder, or lemon juice. Heated oil is often used to prevent the piece of meat from sticking to the pan or grill, but be mindful during preparation because extra virgin olive oil is 119 calories per tablespoon. If you need oil to coat the surface, choose a cooking spray to help reduce the risk of overdoing it.

According to the National Cancer Institute, carnivores also need to watch how they cook their meat. Cooking meat at very highly elevated heat or directly over an open flame can form unhealthy compounds heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Both HCAs and PAHs have been found to cause changes in DNA, which can increase the risk of cancer.

Minimize the risk of HCAs and PAHs by turning to gentler methods of cooking, such as stewing and steaming. Limit charred and smoked foods, don’t expose the meat directly to a flame, and keep cooking temperatures below 150 degrees Celsius. By marinating meat in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, or red wine, meat-eaters can reduce the amount of HCAs by up to 90 percent. If a favorite recipe of yours calls for high heat, just make sure to flip the meat frequently and avoid burning.

Denmark could hike tax on red meat in a bid to boost vegetarianism to help environment


Would you be upset if this initiative was implemented around the world?

The Denmark Ethics Council have called for a higher tax on red meat after coming to the conclusion that “climate change is an ethical problem”.

The Danish Government is considering the proposal after the Danish Council of Ethics recommended an initial tax on beef, and then rolling out the tax to all red meats in the future.

Eventually, they want to tax all foods at all levels depending on the climate impact of producing the food.

meat

This means the proposal has now been put forward for consideration for the government.

In a press release, the council said it was not enough to “rely on the ethical consumer” because climate change is a worry for Denmark, and the country is contributing to the issue.

The council said: “The Danish way of life is far from climate-sustainable, and if we are to live up to the Paris Agreement target of keeping the global temperature rise ‘well’ below 2°C, it is necessary both to act quickly and involve food”.

Cattle account for 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and the production of food as a whole accounts for between 19 and 29 per cent, according to the council.

They said it is “unproblematic” to cut out beef and still enjoy a nutritious diet.

In November 2015, Chatham House recommended similar guidelines for the UK.

The researchers from the leading think tank said proceeds from a tax on meat could be used to subsidise healthier alternatives that are less damaging to the environment, such as fruit, vegetables and tofu.

A “carbon tax” of £1.76 per kilo on the price of beef could reduce consumption by 14 per cent, a study they highlighted suggests.

Last year, the World Health Organisation listed processed meat as a cancer-causing substance, and said fresh red meat was bad for health.

The classifications regarded processed meat as “carcinogenic to humans”, the highest of five possible rankings, shared with alcohol, asbestos, arsenic and cigarettes.

How eating red meat could trigger a STROKE


  • Study reveals red meat is linked to a risk of suffering ischemic stroke
  • People who ate 93g a day were 47% more likely to suffer the condition
  • Caused by a blockage in the blood vessels which supply the brain
  • Researchers noted it was only red meat that was linked to high stroke risk 

The more red meat a person indulges in, the more likely they are to suffer a life-threatening stroke, experts have warned.

The protein increases the chance a person will experience a blockage in the blood vessels that supply the brain – known as an ischemic stroke.

Researchers in Germany found those individuals who ate the most red meat had a 47 per cent higher risk of the condition, compared with those who ate the smallest quantities.

Dr Bernhard Haring at the University of Wurzburg in Germany, offered some reassurance.

He said: ‘It’s ok to eat red meat – preferably lean red meat – as long as you limit the amount.’

People who ate the most red meat had a 47 per cent higher chance of suffering an ischemic stroke - the most common form of the condition - than those who ate the smallest quantities of red meat, bacon and sausages, researchers at the University of Wurzburg discovered

People who ate the most red meat had a 47 per cent higher chance of suffering an ischemic stroke – the most common form of the condition – than those who ate the smallest quantities of red meat, bacon and sausages, researchers at the University of Wurzburg discovered

Protein from poultry, seafood or vegetable sources like nuts and legumes wasn’t associated with any added risk.

Researchers analysed data on around 11,000 middle-aged people who didn’t have other risk factors for strokes such as diabetes or heart disease, and followed half of them for 23 years.

Past studies have raised questions over links between a high-protein diet and strokes.

But, Dr Haring said this new piece of research, suggests red meat in particular may pose a danger.

To assess the link between protein and stroke risk, Dr Haring and his colleagues reviewed data from diet questionnaires completed by people living in the US, aged 45 to 64, starting in 1987.

They followed them through until 2011, to see how many people had suffered a stroke.

The study participants were divided into five groups, based on how much protein and what type they consumed.

For instance, the bottom-fifth averaged around 49g of protein a day, representing less than 13 per cent of total calories.

Meanwhile, the top-fifth averaged 93g of protein a day, equating to 23 per cent of total calories.

‘This study really tells us that what we eat matters for our future cardiovascular health
Dr Jennifer Dearborn-Tomazos, Yale University

Compared to participants with high protein consumption, those who ate less protein on average at the start of the study were more likely to be black, current smokers and less likely to have high school diplomas or a regular exercise routine.

The people who ate less protein were also less likely to be obese or take cholesterol-lowering medications.

There were no major differences in age gender, or total calories consumed among participants who ate different amounts of protein.

During a median follow-up of 22.7 years, there were 699 strokes among 11,601 participants.

The highest intake of processed meats like bacon, sausage and jerky was linked to a 24 per cent higher risk of strokes

Meanwhile the highest consumption of red meat was tied to a 41 per cent increased risk, compared to people in the bottom-fifth for consumption of those items.

When the researchers looked just at men, the highest consumers of red and processed meats had a 62 per cent higher stroke risk than men who ate the least.

An ischemic stroke is triggered by a blockage in the blood vessels that supply the brain, illustrated

An ischemic stroke is triggered by a blockage in the blood vessels that supply the brain, illustrated

Eating more eggs was linked to a 41 per cent greater risk of hemorrhagic strokes – a less common type that is caused by a ruptured blood vessel in the brain.

But only red meats were tied to ischemic strokes, the most common kind.

One limitation of the study is that researchers only had data on protein intake at two points in time, which the authors acknowledge might fail to account for changes in eating habits over the years.

Because the study was based on observation only and didn’t randomly assign some people to eat red meat while others abstained, it isn’t possible to determine how diet changes might help reduce the risk of future strokes, noted Dr Jennifer Dearborn-Tomazos, a neurology researcher at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.

It’s possible, for example, that people who eat a lot of red meat also do other things that increase the risk of strokes, like not eating enough vegetables, Dr Dearborn-Tomazos, who wasn’t involved in the study,told Reuters.

Even so, the study findings linking red meat to stroke risk after accounting for how much fat, carbohydrates and fiber people consumed supports traditionally held beliefs that red meat and saturated fats may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, she said.

‘This study really tells us that what we eat matters for our future cardiovascular health,’ Dr Dearborn-Tomazos said.

 

How an Anti-Inflammatory Diet Can Relieve Pain as You Age


If you suffer from chronic pain, experts say a diet makeover with a focus on vegetables can have a dramatic effect.

Patients who follow strict vegan or Mediterranean diets have seen a complete turnaround in their pain symptoms, according to pain management specialist William Welches, DO.  He says getting regular exercise, controlling stress and eating healthy foods all work together to reduce inflammation and chronic pain.

“Research shows that diet should be an integral part of a pain management program — especially as patients age,” says Dr. Welches. “A vegan or Mediterranean diet — or healthier eating inspired by these diets — can control insulin and cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation — which is the pain culprit.”

 

Painful inflammation is body’s response to toxins

Inflammation is the body’s immune response to toxins as it works to “purify” itself. The resulting inflammation not only causes pain in the body. Over time, it also can trigger chronic diseases, such as heart disease and strokes, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and even depression.

There are many ways to treat and manage chronic pain. One of the most exciting approaches, however — because it is all natural — is adopting an anti-inflammatory diet. The other options for pain don’t always work. Many patients don’t benefit from neural (nerve) blocks, and medication therapy often leads to undesired side effects.

An anti-inflammatory diet, however, often eliminates the unpleasant side effects of some medications that cause fogginess, memory loss and sleepiness.

“Following an anti-inflammatory diet is powerful therapy for pain control with many beneficial side effects,” Dr. Welches says. “The anti-inflammatory diet is considered an integrative approach to pain management, along with exercise, stress management, osteopathic manipulation therapy and acupuncture.”

A good amount of research also shows that an anti-inflammatory diet can ease fibromyalgia and chronic pain symptoms.

The three diet basics you need to know

Dr. Welches advocates the following three basic diet guidelines, noting that physicians should encourage all of their patients to consider them:

  1. Eat the rainbow: Consume eight to nine servings of vegetables each day — make a couple of those servings fruit, if you like. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower are best.
  2. Restrict dairy and grains: Eat dairy products in limited quantities. When choosing grains, stay away from simple carbohydrates with refined sugar. Opt for whole grains, including barley, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, brown rice, rye, spelt and wheat.
  3. Avoid red meat: Eat red meat the way most of us eat turkey right now — twice a year, Dr. Welches says. Have it on very special occasions, very infrequently. Instead, include fish as the “meat” or eat vegetarian main dishes. Chicken is neutral — not harmful but not beneficial in the anti-inflammatory sense.

How an Anti-Inflammatory Diet Can Relieve Pain as You Age

Take these additional steps to enhance your results

To make your diet part of an integrative lifestyle built to reduce chronic pain and reduce or eliminate inflammation, Dr. Welches recommends these additional priorities:

  • Get down to your ideal weight; weight loss on its own is anti-inflammatory.
  • Get daily exercise in the form of walking.
  • Manage stress.

It is the diet, not the individual foods, that control inflammation, he says.

“For a chronic pain patient who is suffering, I recommend the extreme form of the diet — so that is no red meat, no flour or sugar or simple carbohydrate and no dairy,” he says.

Exercise is an added benefit, particularly if people are overweight. “If there is any extra weight, you will need to lose it,” he says.

Ultimately, what you need to know is that inflammation comes from a biochemical reaction initiated by your immune system or wound-healing coagulation system, Dr. Welches says.

Specific foods can promote or shut down the inflammatory cycle. For instance, simple carbohydrates promote it, while vegetables shut it down.

“Nutrition that supports a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods is the key to anti-inflammation and chronic pain management,” Dr. Welches says. “Although there are no magic foods, putting the right combination of foods into your diet can produce remarkable results.”

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION DECLARES RED MEAT AND PROCESSED MEAT TO BE CANCER-CAUSING


According to the World Health Organization, bacon, sausage, and other processed meats are as harmful to the human body as cigarette smoke and asbestos.
pork-69429_640

As was hypothesized would happen, the World Health Organization (WHO) declaredMonday that bacon, sausage, and other processed meats are as harmful to the human bodyas cigarettes and asbestos, which are known carcinogens.

According to the WHO’s new report, processed meats cause cancer, and red meat likely causes cancer.

The Washington Post reports that twenty-two scientists were invited by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer to assess the association between more than sixteen types of cancer and the consumption of red meat and processed meat.

The scientific panel spent seven days in early October examining more than 800 epidemiological studies from the U.S., Europe, Japan, Australia, and elsewhere. Multiple ethnicities and global diets were reviewed during the study which waspublished in the journal Lancet Oncology.

On October 26th, the WHO group “classified consumption of processed meat as ‘carcinogenic to humans’ on the basis of sufficient evidence for colorectal cancer,” PBS reports. 

Cancer of the colon is the second most lethal form of cancer in the United States, responsible for 50,000 deaths per year. Because “knowledge is power,” hopefully this news will inspire millions to take preventative action and adopt a plant-based diet for their health and the good of the planet.

According to the group’s findings, red meat carries a slightly lower risk than processed meat, but it is still “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Processed meat is linked to a higher incidence of stomach cancer. 

In addition, the “consumption of red meat was also positively associated with pancreatic and with prostate cancer.” 

Processed meat now falls into “group 1,” which means it ranks as high as tobaccosmoking, the most dangerous variants of human papillomavirus (HPV) and asbestos exposure in terms of causing cancer. Red meat is classified as a “group 2A”carcinogen.

With this news, a definite assertion has been made on the connection between eating meat and cancer. Many studies in recent years have linked to the two activities, but no source has outright stated what the WHO declared this week. 

Don’t expect the beef industry to accept the organization’s recent findings, however. Said Shalene McNeill, executive director of human nutrition at the national Cattlemen’s Beef Association, to the Washington Post: 

“We simply don’t think the evidence support any causal link between any red meat and any type of cancer.”

Regardless, the organization’s new position aligns with the views of other health agencies like the World Cancer Research Fund, which has said there is convincing evidence that processed meats cause bowel cancer. 

Eat red meat? You could die younger, because of cancer


 

Studies suggest that an additional daily serving – fresh cuts of meat, the size of a deck of cards, or two slices of bacon or cold cuts — raised risk of death by 13%.

India’s increasingly shrill anti-beef lobby is likely to get support from unexpected quarters this week with the World Health Organisation (WHO) putting processed red meat in the same category of cancer-causing substances as arsenic, plutonium and tobacco.

 While processed staples such as bacon, sausages and salami will find place among things “carcinogenic to humans” because of their confirmed link with bowel cancer, unprocessed red meat — all fresh cuts of beef, pork, lamb, goat, etc — is a rung below in the “probably carcinogenic to humans” list along with lead and diesel fumes. Processed meat is more damning because the preserving and curing methods used raise levels of cancer-causing chemicals.

The causative link to cancer was established in 2007 when the World Cancer Research Fund reviewed 14 studies and concluded that red and processed meats were “convincing causes of colorectal cancer.” The evidence is less convincing for other cancers, though some studies have also associated regular meat-eating with stomach cancer.

Heart trouble

Apart from the artery-choking saturated fat and cholesterol – which, incidentally, is only found in fats from animal sources and not in nuts and legumes — in meats that clog up the arteries, a nutrient found in red meat has also been shown to trigger a series of reactions in the gut microbes that contribute to the development of heart disease. According to a study published in the journal Nature Medicine, gut bacteria turn L-carnitine found in red meat into a compound called trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO). In studies in mice, TMAO has been shown to clog up the inside lining of the arteries (atherosclerosis) that can completely stop or severely restrict blood flow, leading to heart attacks.

 

Two studies that included more than 120,000 men and women showed that people who ate the most red meat died younger, mostly because of heart disease and cancer. After 28 years, nearly 24,000 people had died from heart disease and cancer, showed data reviewed by the researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health. They found that an additional daily serving – fresh cuts of meat, the size of a deck of cards, or two slices of bacon or cold cuts — raised risk of death by 13%. The risk increased to 20 if the serving was processed, such as bacon, cold cuts or sausages, they reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Iron in the meal

Despite being high in saturated fats and cholesterol that raises weight, block arteries and cause heart disease, red meat in small amounts was long considered a critical part of a balanced diet. It lowers appetite by increasing satiety and is a good source of protein, iron and Vitamin B12 needed for healthy nerves and red blood cells, and zinc, which keeps the immune system working optimally.

Meat is packed with amino acids, which the body cannot make on its own and needs to build protein. And though both amino acids and protein are found in plant sources, they are found in smaller quantities. For example, you get 25 gm of protein from 150 calories worth of red meat and 600 calories worth of shelled peanuts.

Haem iron – from animal sources such as red meat, chicken, liver, shrimp, oysters and eggs – is better absorbed, with 15-35% being utilised by the body as compared to the 2-10% from iron found in fortified cereals, legumes, leafy vegetables, dried peas, beans, dried apricots and raisins.

 

Iron-deficiency anaemia lowers the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to vital organs. In people otherwise healthy, even mild anaemia can cause tiredness, headache, dizziness, fatigue and lack of concentration. Acute anaemia puts pressure on the heart to compensate for the oxygen deficiency, causing palpitations, chest pain and heart failure.

Fit substitute

The Harvard studies show substituting meat with equivalent servings of more healthful protein sources, such as fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains give you an edge, with benefits ranging from 7% for substituting fish, 14% for poultry, and 19% for nuts. Does this mean you have to give up eating meat altogether? No. Including a lot of plant fibres in the diet brings down heart and cancer risk to the same levels as vegetarians, showed results of the EPIC trial in 2013 that followed half a million Europeans for 12 years. Eating cold potatoes – with butyrylated resistant starch produced when potatoes are cooked and left to cool — with red meats protects against cancer by lowering DNA damage to the gut cells. It’s best to have red meat as a treat instead of a staple. It’s not worth the risks when healthier and as tasty substitute are available.