Coronary heart disease risk of red meat

coronary heart disease

Replacing red meat with high quality plant foods such as legumes, nuts, or soy may be related to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, indicates a study published by The BMJ.

Substituting whole grains and milk products for processed red meat, and eggs for processed red meat, may also reduce this risk.

Substantial evidence suggests that high consumption of red meat, especially processed red meat, such as bacon, hot dogs, sausages and salami, is associated with an increased risk of death and major chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease.

Studies that reveal inconsistent results often don’t compare red meat using comparable protein and energy resources.

To address these problems in study design and analysis, a team of US researchers examined the relation between total, processed, and unprocessed red meat and risk of coronary heart disease and estimate the effects of substituting other protein sources for red meat with coronary heart disease risk.

Their findings are based on information from 43,272 US men (average age 53) From the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study who were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer when they enrolled.

Participants filled in a comprehensive diet survey in 1986 and every four decades thereafter, up to 2016, also provided information in their health history and lifestyle.

Medical records were used to monitor coronary heart disease events (fatal and non-fatal) over this 30-year period. During this time, 4,456 coronary heart disease events were recorded of which 1,860 were fatal.
The researchers found that for every one serving daily, total red meat was associated with a small (12 percent ) higher risk of coronary heart disease. Similar associations were observed for unprocessed (11 percent greater risk) and processed red meat (15% greater risk).

However, compared to red meat, intake of a single serving daily of combined plant protein sources, including nuts, legumes (such as legumes, beans and legumes ), and soy was correlated with a 14 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease.

This risk was lower still (18%) among men over the age of 65, and compared with all processed red meat (17%).

Substituting whole grains and dairy products and yogurt for complete red meat and eggs to get processed red meat were also correlated with lower coronary heart disease risk. This association was particularly strong among younger men, in which the replacement of red meat with egg was correlated with a 20 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease.

Replacing red meat with total fish was not associated with coronary heart disease risk. But the researchers say that this could be due to cooking procedure (ie. Deep frying) and how this particular food group also included processed fish products.

This is an observational study, so can not establish cause, and despite adjusting for important personal and lifestyle variables, the researchers can’t eliminate the chance that other unmeasured factors may have affected their results.

What is more, study participants were mainly white health professionals so the findings might not be widely applicable.

But this was a large study with repeated measures of daily diet during 30 years of follow-up, indicating that the findings withstand scrutiny.

As such, they say their analysis shows that higher intakes of total,

Substituting whole grains or dairy products to get complete red meat and Substituting eggs for processed red meat were also associated with a lower coronary heart disease risk, they add.

“These findings are consistent with the effects of these foods on low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and support a health benefit of limiting red meat consumption and replacement with plant protein sources,” they explain.

This would also have significant environmental benefits, they conclude.

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