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Does Red Meat Compromise Your Heart Health?

It’s widely stated that eating red meat causes heart disease, an association that is often blamed (incorrectly) on its impact on cholesterol levels. But is it true? Does eating a healthy diet mean removing steak, burgers and other red meat from your diet? According to a new study, you don’t need to believe the hype, because eating red meat does not raise your risk for heart disease or cancer.

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Researchers analyzed findings from four separate reviews that included results from millions of patients and dozens of studies. They focused on the potential health hazards of eating red meat and examined the link between eating red of or processed meat and 30 different health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. In one review of 54,000 patients, researchers did not find any link between eating meat and developing these health conditions. In the three remaining reviews, they found that patients who reduced their meat intake by three servings a week had a slightly lower risk of developing the health conditions, but the link was very minimal.

Based on their findings, the researchers made a “weak recommendation” for people to continue with their meat consumption, meaning the recommendation is broad and may not be applicable to everyone. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and the U.S. Dietary Guidelines currently recommend that people limit their intake of red meat, as well as processed meat.

Dr. Paul Saladino, a functional medicine practitioner, advocates the use of a nose-to-tail carnivore diet to heal many autoimmune conditions, and points to evidence suggesting the notion that all plants are beneficial may need to be revisited and revised. To watch his interview and read more about the potential health effects of the carnivore diet, click here.

There are vast differences between concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and organically-raised, grass fed beef, both in terms of nutrient content and contamination. As for processed meat, it does indeed increase risk of disease and should never be consumed. Processed meats are those preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or through the addition of chemical preservatives. This includes bacon, ham, pastrami, salami, pepperoni, hot dogs, some sausages and hamburgers (if they have been preserved with salt or chemical additives) and more.

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