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Red Meat Consumption May Not Increase Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Current nutritional recommendations advise people to avoid eating a lot of red meat. However, a recent study suggests that eating slightly more red meat than is typically recommended does not affect cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol.

For their analysis, the researchers examined data from 24 studies. Inclusion criteria were participants over the age of 19, consumption of more than 1.25 ounces of red meat per day, and reporting of cardiovascular risk factors. The researchers looked at pre and post intervention levels of total cholesterol, LDL and HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure.

They found that eating more than half a serving per day of red meat or an equivalent of a 3 ounce serving three times per week did not have a negative affect on blood pressure, total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, or triglyceride concentrations.

The researchers noted that blood pressure and cholesterol are not the only determinants for whether or not someone will develop cardiovascular disease. They also noted that these studies were all conducted over the course of weeks or months, not over the years that it can take people to develop cardiovascular disease.

Researchers from Purdue University conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on November 23, 2016, in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Red meat is rich in iron and packed with protein, which is essential for muscle building. Red meat also supplies vitamin B12, which helps make DNA and keeps nerve and blood cells healthy. Red meat also supplies zinc, which helps keep the immune system working properly.

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