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Red Meat May Increase Levels of Chemical Associated With Heart Disease

A recent study suggests that eating a lot of red meat may be connected with high levels of a gut-generated chemical called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). TMAO has been linked with heart disease.


Participants in the study included 113 healthy men and women who followed one of three diets for one month, then switched to the next diet, then the next. The three diets contained protein from red meat, white meat, or non-meat sources. The red meat diet included approximately 8 ounces of steak per day or two quarter-pound beef patties. Half of the participants were also placed on high fat versions of the three diets.


After the red meat month, the researchers found that the participants’ TMAO levels were three times higher than when they were following the white meat or non-meat protein diets. They also found that when people stopped following the red meat diet, their TMAO levels significantly decreased.


Similar results were found for the participants who consumed the high fat versions of the diet compared to those who did not.


Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic led the study. It was published on December 10, 2018, in European Heart Journal.

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