According to a new review of clinical trials, consuming red meat in amounts above what is typically recommended does not affect short-term cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as blood pressure and blood cholesterol.
Researchers at Purdue University have observed that red meat can be incorporated into a healthier diet as a source for protein and bioavailable iron.
The recommendations to limit red meat from the diet come mainly from studies that relate peoples’ eating habits to whether they have cardiovascular disease. While these studies suggest that red meat consumption is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, they are not designed to show that red meat is causing cardiovascular disease.
So Campbell, doctoral student Lauren O’Connor, and postdoctoral researcher Jung Eun Kim, conducted a review and analysis of past clinical trials, which are able to detect cause and effect between eating habits and health risks.
They screened hundreds of related research articles, focusing on studies that met specific criteria including the amount of red meat consumed, evaluation of cardiovascular disease risk factors and study design.
The purpose of this systematically searched meta-analysis was to assess the effects of consuming ≥0.5 or <0.5 servings of total red meat/d on CVD risk factors [blood total cholesterol (TC), LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, ratio of TC to HDL cholesterol (TC:HDL), and systolic and diastolic blood pressures (SBP and DBP, respectively)]. The researchers hypothesized that the consumption of ≥0.5 servings of total red meat/d would have a negative effect on these CVD risk factors. The study found that consuming more than half a serving per day of red meat, which is equivalent to a 3 ounce serving three times per week, did not worsen blood pressure and blood total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglyceride concentrations, which are commonly screened by health-care providers