British scientists have linked the consumption of all forms of red meat – such as beef, lamb and pork – to worsening heart function.
The researchers, who studied nearly 20,000 people, found that higher intake of red and processed meat was linked to decreases in three different measurements of heart health.
Processed meat – such as sausages, salami, and smoked bacon – is meat that has been preserved by smoking or salting, hardening, or adding chemical preservatives.
There is evidence that red meat alters the gut microbiome and leads to higher levels of certain metabolites in the blood, which in turn have been linked to a higher risk of heart disease.
Red meat consumption has been linked to heart disease – the world’s biggest killer.
Burger lovers might consider switching to the many plant-based alternatives now available on supermarket shelves – which are also better for the environment.
Bad news for burger lovers: An observational study of nearly 20,000 people found that a higher intake of red and processed meat is linked to poorer heart function
HEART DISEASE: THE GREATEST KILLER IN THE WORLD
The world’s biggest killer is ischemic heart disease, which is responsible for 16 percent of all deaths worldwide.
The disease has seen its largest increase in deaths since 2000, rising by more than 2 million to 8.9 million in 2019.
Stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are the second leading and third leading causes of death, accounting for about 11% and 6% of all deaths, respectively.
Just last month, another team of researchers from Canada linked events involving cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes to the consumption of processed meat.
A 2018 study found that regular consumption of red meat can increase levels of chemicals that cause cardiovascular disease by more than ten-fold.
The organic compound – TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide) – is produced in the intestine during digestion.
“Previous studies have shown links between higher consumption of red meat and an increased risk of heart attacks or death from heart disease,” said study author Dr. Zahra Raisi-Estabragh from Queen Mary University in London.
‘For the first time, we examined the relationships between meat consumption and imaging measures to measure heart health.
“This can help us understand the mechanisms underlying the previously observed relationships with cardiovascular disease.”
The study included 19,408 participants from the UK Biobank – a long-term study examining the contribution of genes and the environment to the development of health problems.
The researchers investigated the relationship between self-reported consumption of red and processed meat and the anatomy and function of the heart.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term for diseases of the heart or blood vessels. CVD events include heart disease and stroke. All heart diseases are cardiovascular diseases, but not all cardiovascular diseases are heart diseases
THE THREE HEART MEASURES
1. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) assessments of cardiac function used in clinical practice, such as: B. the volume of the ventricles and measurements of the pumping function of the ventricles
2. Novel CMR radiomics used in research to extract detailed information from heart images such as shape and texture (which is indicative of heart muscle health)
3. Elasticity of the blood vessels (stretchable arteries are healthier)
Three types of heart measurements were analyzed – one of which was blood vessel elasticity, which is a sign of good health.
The analysis was adjusted for other factors that might influence the association, including age, gender, withdrawal, education, smoking, alcohol, exercise, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and body mass index (BMI) as a measure of obesity.
The researchers found that higher red and processed meat intake was associated with decreased measurements of heart health for all measures studied.
In particular, those with higher meat intake had smaller ventricles, poorer cardiac function, and stiffer arteries – all markers of poorer cardiovascular health.
For comparison, the researchers also tested the relationships between heart imaging and fatty fish intake, previously linked to better heart health.
They found that heart function improved and arteries became more flexible as the consumption of fatty fish increased.
“The results support previous observations linking red and processed meat consumption to heart disease and provide unique insights into how the heart and blood vessels function,” said Dr. Raisi-Estabragh.
Interestingly, the links between the three heart health measures and meat intake have been only partially explained by high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity.
“It has been suggested that these factors may be the reason for the observed relationship between meat and heart disease,” said Dr. Raisi-Estabragh.
“For example, it is possible that a higher intake of red meat leads to increased blood cholesterol, which in turn leads to heart disease.
“Our study suggests that these four factors play a role in the links between meat intake and heart health, but they are not the whole story.”
Dr. Raisi-Estabragh noted that the study did not investigate any alternative mechanisms and admitted that no accident was found – that red meat causes deterioration in heart function.
“This was an observational study and a cause cannot be assumed, but in general it makes sense for heart health reasons to limit your intake of red and processed meat,” said Dr. Raisi-Estabragh.
Replacing red meat in our diet with plant-based alternatives will improve human health and the health of the planet, one expert claims
The research will be showcased at ESC Preventive Cardiology 2021, an online scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) taking place Thursday through Saturday this week.
Dr. Shireen Kassam, a hematologist and lecturer at King’s College Hospital who was not involved in the research, said decades of observational data already showed that consuming red and processed meat increases the risk of developing coronary artery disease and heart disease and dying of mistakes.
“It’s no surprise that the participants who ate the most meat had signs of impaired cardiovascular function,” she told MailOnline.
‘The study confirms that we need to move away from questioning the role of red and processed meat in the diet and respond to this research by focusing on effective and honest public health news to help citizens do so To remove these foods from the diet and replace them with healthier sources of vegetable protein.
“Not only will this improve human health, but it will also have benefits for the health of the planets.”
DO YOU HAVE TO CUT RED MEAT? WHAT THE EVIDENCE SAYS
Meat is a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals in your diet.
The Department of Health advises that we eat no more than 70g (cooked weight) of red and processed meat per day, which is the average daily consumption in the UK.
This is mainly because there is a link between colon cancer and red meats like beef and lamb, and processed meats like sausages and bacon.
A 2011 report by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) titled Iron and Health assessed evidence of the link between colon cancer and iron. Meat is the main source of iron.
SACN concluded that consuming lots of red and processed meats likely increased the risk of colon cancer and advised accordingly.
The American Institute for Cancer Research advises not consuming more than three servings of red meat per week and encourages us to avoid processed meat.
Processed meat often contains nitrogen-based preservatives that keep it from falling off during shipping or storage.
These preservatives have been linked to both colon and gastric cancer.
When red meat is digested, the pigment heme in our intestines is broken down into chemicals called N-nitroso compounds.
These compounds have been found to damage the DNA of cells that line our digestive tract and can cause cancer.
Our bodies can also respond to this damage by making the cells divide faster to replace the lost ones.
This “extra” cell division can increase the risk of cancer.
According to Cancer Research UK, three chemicals in meat are linked to colon cancer because they damage cells in the colon.
Red and processed meats have also been linked to type 2 diabetes.
This may be due to the preservatives used or the higher saturated fat content than chicken and fish.
However, researchers in Canada, Spain and Poland cast a shadow over the dietary recommendations adopted by health organizations around the world in November 2019.
In a landmark article, the scientists analyzed previous studies of how meat consumption affects the health of more than four million people.
The study, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, found no evidence that consuming beef, pork, and lamb could increase fears of heart disease, cancer, stroke, or type 2 diabetes – despite fears.