This report filed by the BBC confirms what has long been rumoured, mans love affair with red meat is doing us no good.
Despite the spruiking of Sam Neil and Sam Kekovich, red meat is not bringing us the benefits that they profess. In fact it is almost certainly a key contrbutor to early deaths from heart disease, cancer and strokes.
And “an essential part of the diet 3 or 4 times a week.” I think not. Only if heart disease and premature death are also essential to the evolution of the species.
Leave the discoveries to the scientists Sam. Here are the real facts.
A chemical found in red meat helps explain why eating too much steak, mince and bacon is bad for the heart, say US scientists.
A study in the journal Nature Medicine showed that carnitine in red meat was broken down by bacteria in the gut.
This kicked off a chain of events that resulted in higher levels of cholesterol and an increased risk of heart disease.
Dieticians warned there may be a risk to people taking carnitine supplements.
There has been a wealth of studies suggesting that regularly eating red meat may be damaging to health.
In the UK, the government recommends eating no more than 70g of red or processed meat a day – the equivalent of two slices of bacon.
Saturated fat and the way processed meat is preserved are thought to contribute to heart problems. However, this was not thought to be the whole story.
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I would strongly recommend that unless you’re a vegetarian or vegan, there is a potential risk from taking L-carnitine, lecithin, choline or betaine supplements in an attempt to ward off cognitive decline or improve fat metabolism â€ť
Catherine Collins Dietitian
“The cholesterol and saturated fat content of lean red meat is not that high, there’s something else contributing to increases in cardiovascular risk,” lead researcher Dr Stanley Hazen told the BBC.
Experiments on mice and people showed that bacteria in the gut could eat carnitine.
Carnitine was broken down into a gas, which was converted in the liver to a chemical called TMAO.
In the study, TMAO was strongly linked with the build-up of fatty deposits in blood vessels, which can lead to heart disease and death.
Dr Hazen, from the Cleveland Clinic, said TMAO was often ignored: “It may be a waste product but it is significantly influencing cholesterol metabolism and the net effect leads to an accumulation of cholesterol.
“The findings support the idea that less red meat is better.
“I used to have red meat five days out of seven, now I have cut it way back to less than once every two weeks or so.”
He said the findings raised the idea of using a probiotic yogurt to change the balance of bacteria in the gut.
Reducing the number of bacteria that feed on carnitine would in theory reduce the health risks of red meat.
Vegetarians naturally have fewer bacteria which are able to break down carnitine than meat-eaters.
More at Red meat chemical ‘damages heart’, say US scientists
It is not only the meat itself that is a problem. Sam Kekovich implores you to chuck a lamb chop on the barbie, that could make matters worse. Check out our report for making barbecue food safer.
Sam Kekovich says it is Un-Australian not to eat lamb, does that mean it is Un-Australian to avoid heart disease and live longer.
Looking after your health is Australian or at least it should be. Don’t be fooled by these guys telling you that the old ways are the best. They were the best, when we didn’t no any better, now we know more. That’s evolution.
Don’t forget that red meat is also dangerous to the planet. Millions of acres of rainforest have been torn down to make way for grazing cattle. This means that there is more CO2 in the air and to make matter worse the cattle turn the green stuff they eat into methane which is even worse for the atmosphere than CO2.
If you must eat red meat, cut it back to the 70G a day, as recommended in the report, or save it up for a decent size cut once per week or once every two weeks. You know it makes sense.