Red Meat is Safe and Healthy – New Comprehensive Study Reveals
Red meat causes cancer. Red meat causes heart disease. Red meat raises your blood pressure. Red meat gives you high cholesterol. Red meat consumption will give you a heart attack.
Red meat might even be the cause of wars, poverty, and global warming. Give researchers enough time, and I’m sure these connections will be made.
Connections. Let’s focus on that word for a moment. For years we’ve “known” there was a connection between red meat all all kinds of vile health issues, right? Right! Dozens upon dozens of research studies, books and articles have proclaimed this connection to be the gospel.
But is it? That’s the question. I mean seriously, is red meat really as bad for you as fast food, chips, cookies, heavily processed food, and white sugar and flour? That’s been our belief.
Breaking news. This just in. The “studies” were wrong, or at least presented an incomplete look at the possible dangers of red meat.
Now before you click away, I know what you’re thinking: Here we go again. Another confusing study about what’s good and bad for us to eat. One day we are told a food is great for overall health, the next day it’s dangerous. We’ve been down that road far too many times. But this new study is different.
Red Meat – The New Safe Food?
The University of Purdue recently completed a thorough analysis of existing clinical studies on red meat. What they found was shocking, or at least it will be to those of us who thought red meat was dangerous in the first place.
The current US and UK guidelines for red meat consumption advise no more than 70 grams of pork, beef, or steak per day. This is considered a safe level. Wayne Campbell, professor of nutrition science at Purdue, found that eating more red meat than this was actually safe and healthy.
Professor Campbell worked in concert with Lauren O’Connor (doctoral student) and Jung Eun Kim (postdoctoral researcher). O’Connor went on the say about the findings,
“We 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.”
This study on studies, if you will, analyzed hundreds of research articles. The focus was placed upon on studies that:
- Specified amounts of red meat consumption.
- Evaluated cardiovascular disease risks.
- Had a reasonable and trusted study design.
From these criteria, 24 total red meat studies were selected and combed through. The results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  All types of red meat were analyzed, including beef and pork. It should be noted that most of the research analyzed was on unprocessed meats.
Following this meta-analysis, professor Campbell went on to call for more research. He reminded us that most of the studies on red meat were performed over weeks and months rather than years and decades. Professor Campbell went on to say,
“It is also important to recognize that our findings are specific to selected indicators for cardiovascular disease risk. Comparable research is needed to assess other health risk factors from clinical trials, including inflammation and blood glucose control.”
Final Word on Red Meat
Red meat is micronutrient dense, protein-rich and contains plenty of good nutrition. It is not to be feared and should remain a staple of a healthy diet that includes plenty of other protein sources, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats.
The demonizing of red meat has been intense, to say the least. The belief that it should be avoided is so deeply embedded into our culture that it is not likely to go away any time soon.
Research studies can be confusing, to say the least. Here are some takeaway rules to keep things simple. They will help you to maximize your health and longevity, no matter what the “study of the day” has to say.
- Limit bad food choices to 10-20% of your overall calories.
- Practice balance when it comes to protein foods, fruits, veggies, starches, and healthy fats. Eat a wide variety of each.
- Limit white sugar and while flour.
- Limit processed foods and fast foods.
- Drink alcohol in moderation.
- Understand that hype (either good or bad) over specific fruits, veggies, fats, and meats, is just that – HYPE. Most whole foods are neither miracle “super” foods nor awful and deadly.
1) “Total Red Meat Intake of ≥0.5 Servings/d Does Not Negatively Influence Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: a Systemically Searched Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2016/11/23/ajcn.116.142521.abstract?sid=b1ebfad5-0b2e-46de-8c0d-8a675550bb73.