The link between heart disease and meat consumption has been unclear in past studies, but a recent publication in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition has shown that consumption and rate of consumption of red and/or processed meats are risk factors for heart disease.
The researchers were looking at the link between processed and red meats with ischemic heart disease. They found clear evidence that links these types of food to an increased risk for this condition, so it’s important you limit or avoid them as much as possible if your goal is healthy living. They found that each additional 50 g/day serving of processed meat increases the risk of ischemic heart disease by 18%, and each additional 50 g/day serving of unprocessed red meat increases the risk by 9%. They found no evidence that poultry consumption increases the risk of ischemic heart disease.
The link between meat consumption and heart disease may be due to several factors, but the cause is not entirely clear. Red and processed meats contain high levels of saturated fat, which increases “bad” cholesterol. Processed meats contain high levels of sodium, which can increase blood pressure. Red meat consumption has been linked to increased blood levels of trimethylamine-N-oxide, a compound that is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular events and death. Red and processed meat consumption may also be linked to increased inflammation throughout the body. Although the mechanism connecting red and processed meats to ischemic heart disease is not fully understood, the results of this study clearly indicate that lowering our consumption will lower our risk.