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Red Meat and Its Effects on Your Heart

Multiple steaks on grill temp patient trying to avoid red meat for heart health. The Heart House logo at bottom right.

You might want to think twice before ordering that 1 lb. medium rare steak. Studies about how red meat affects your heart state that high consumption can increase your risk of heart attack, heart disease, and other heart-related conditions. The American Heart Association strongly advises that you watch the amount of red meat such as pork, beef, and lamb in order to avoid increased risks of heart disease.

What is wrong with red meat?

The links between red meat and heart disease are widely debated, however, a common factor is that red meat is high in cholesterol and saturated fat. A diet that consists of high amounts of cholesterol increases your chances of heart disease because cholesterol increases the amount of fatty deposits in your blood, making blood flow more difficult. The effect of saturated fat is similar as it raises your cholesterol levels.

Newer studies lead doctors to believe that red meat contains nutrients that, when broken down in your gut, produce trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO). TMAO raises your chances of developing hardened arteries, heart attack, and stroke.

Is it really that bad?

A study published in 2019 in Annals of Internal Medicine argue against the long-time belief that red meat is bad for your heart. This caused somewhat of an uproar in the medical and scientific community because this controversial information can be misleading. Studies have been conducted for years about how red meat affects your heart, and one new study should not misinform people that it is okay to consume large amount of red meat without any caution.

The Bottom Line

Studies are in favor that red meat increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or premature death. Of course, there is always room for new studies to prove otherwise, but until then limit your intake of red meat. Don’t eat it every day, and when you do eat it make sure you are watching your portions. Replace your red meat protein with chicken, fish, or beans to control your consumption. You can talk to your cardiologist about what diet is best for you and your heart.

If you have a family history of heart disease or want to know more about your risk, schedule an appointment with us. The Heart House is a cardiovascular care facility located in Southern New Jersey that provides a patient-focused experience to make sure your heart is in the best shape possible.

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