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Thread: Red Meat Risks and Benefits

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    Igifuno's Avatar
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    Red Meat Risks and Benefits

    I eat a lot of red meat, and I've been reading about the health risks and studies that show the potential risks of heart disease and colon cancer with the consumption of too much red meat.

    I've decided to cut back a bit on red meat and increase chicken and fish intake even more. Up until now, I've consumed red meat 3-4 times a week. Wanted to post this up in case there were others that may be consuming a lot of read meat as well, and want to take a close look at and maybe rethink their diets.. but maybe not...

    Couple interesting takeaways from some of the reading I've been doing:

    - There are clear benefits to red meat as well and it contains high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, nutrients like creatine, and of course protien.

    - Grass fed beef is more lean and nutritious than grain fed and contains more vitamins, omega-3's and the fatty acid CLA, which can support reduction in fat.

    - There are some observational studies out there saying that red meat is associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and death, however in a massive review of 20 studies that included a total of 1,218,380 individuals, processed meat was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. However, no association was found for unprocessed red meat. So it would seem that processed meat is waaay worse for you than lean beef, and lean grass fed beef is even better.

    - Processed meats include: sausage, bacon, sandwich meats are also very commonly processed.

    - When meat is cooked at a high temperature, it can form harmful compounds. Some of these include Heterocyclic Amines (HAs), Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGEs), which can cause cancer in animals. If meat really raises your risk of cancer (which is yet to be proven) then this may be the reason

    - Pork can be a healthier (leaner) alternative, but pork is still considered a red meat

    - Choose lean cuts as opposed to fattier cuts like rib eye (which is my favorite cut). The reduction of fat can decrease your chances of getting colon cancer and heart disease.

    Here are some tips to make sure your meat doesn’t form these harmful compounds:

    1.Use gentler cooking methods like stewing and steaming instead of grilling and frying.

    2.Minimize cooking at high heats and never expose your meat to a flame.

    3.Do not eat charred and/or smoked food. If your meat is burnt, then cut away the charred pieces. This sucks, because I love charred meat, especially on a nice fatty rib eye!

    4.If you marinate your meat in garlic, red wine, lemon juice or olive oil, it can reduce HCAs significantly.

    5.If you must cook at a high heat, flip your meat frequently to prevent it from getting burned.


    Overall, if you want to enjoy meat and receive the full benefits without any of the potential harmful consequences, then use the gentler cooking methods and avoid burnt meat.

    Couple good links:
    Is Eating Red Meat Bad for Your Health?
    Is Eating Red Meat Good or Bad for Your Health? | Eating Well
    New study links L-carnitine in red meat to heart disease - Harvard Health Publications
    How Red Meat Affects Your Health: 7 Reasons To Avoid Beef

    Feedback, thoughts and input welcome. jI'm curious how much red meat other members here eat per week?

    Peace,

    Igi

  2. #2
    ickythump's Avatar
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    i eat red meat about two times a week. others meats are chicken fish turkey etc...my gf is concerned about what youre outlining and i have read a great deal on it, basically what youre saying is (allegedly, not a scientist i didnt do the research lol) true, so i limit it. i eat venison a lot while bulking but its obv not farmed and full of chemicals, right out the ol back yard haha

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    Docd187123 is offline Banned
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    I think that's fear mongering based on many inconclusive reports, observational studies, and wrong conclusions. Studies have said it's the carnitine in red meat that causes heart disease as well as the saturated fat content. Here's two opinions on those studies:

    Quote Originally Posted by Austinite View Post
    Good points doc, I read the actual study and it's considerably flawed. It was a protected PDF file and it expired so I'm not able to share it.

    The study states that red meat contains L-Carnitine which converts to TMAO (trimethylamine-N-oxide), which is the ONLY culprit behind clogged arteries, and nothing else. Furthermore, Carnitine promotes growth of bacteria that produces TMAO. And that's the link to heart disease from consuming red meat.

    Of course, as a heavy L-Carnitine user myself, I had to do some research on my own. So from the study, we can conclude that regardless of the original source, TMAO is what's causing damage. So let's look at some flaws in the study.

    WHY SINGLE OUT RED MEAT?

    So they don't want us to eat red meat. No problem. I can do that. But wait! L-Carnitine can't possibly only exist in red meat, right? Here is a list of SOME foods containing L-Carnitine:

    - Beef
    - Pork
    - Chicken
    - Milk
    - Venison
    - Lamb
    - Duck
    - Ice Cream
    - Cheese
    - Avocado
    - Asparagus

    So you see, we're looking at meats of all colors, dairy and even vegetables. Wouldn't it make more sense to study L-Carnitine in food, and IF it in fact is dangerous, to list the foods to be cautious of in order of highest content? Well, the answer is yes, to me. But to the publishers of that study, it's an obvious NO. Why? Because they can't print a study that says "Stop Eating Everything!". That wouldn't go over so well. It's human nature to develop anxiety when presented with too many things to consider. Narrowing it down to 1 or 2 items makes for a better point. Think of shopping for sunglasses, if you had to choose between 3, it's easy. But choosing between 200 sunglasses, you'd lose interest quickly. This was more an "attention getting" tactic.

    By the way, TMAO exists without the need for L-Carnitine. Fish belonging to the "gadoid" family, contains TMAO, such as codfish.

    L-CARNITINE IS NOT THE ONLY THING THAT RESULTS IN TMAO:

    Choline is another one. Want to know what contains Choline? It's in your fridge, you had it for breakfast... EGGS! So should we stop eating eggs? I personally think not.

    Let's have a look at more foods containing Choline:

    - Chicken
    - Turkey
    - Tomatoes
    - Brussel Sprouts
    - Scallops
    - Green Beans
    - Peas
    - Mushrooms
    - Shrimp
    - Grass-fed Beef
    - Sardines
    - Collard Greens
    - Cauliflower

    You know what else contains Choline? Lecithin. Do you know where Lecithin is used? In food, lots of foods! It's used to keep the ingredients together. It's also used by men in very high doses to increase ejaculate volume.

    THE STUDY HAS SEVERAL FLAWS:

    The study also states that regular meat eaters' gut bacteria produce a "burst" of TMAO after consuming L-Carnitine. Vegans and vegetarians' gut bacteria does not. Would you like to know how many vegan subjects this was tested on? ONE vegan. That's right, ONE person. The other 5 were all meat eaters. Furthermore; there was no mention of the condition of these subjects. No health-related reports whatsoever.

    To add to that, the study never gives details on the meat used on test subjects. They're not all made equal, you know. We would need to breakdown that study with a clear distinction between grass-fed organic meat, and concentrated feeding operations that use hormones and other injections to prevent disease and "fatten" force-fed-cattle.

    FINAL THOUGHTS:

    L-Carnitine is not only safe, but it is good for you and certainly not a cause of heart disease. The opposite, rather. Another study was done that documents a significant reduction in heart-related disease. This can be found here. There is no real evidence in the flawed-TMAO-study. Frankly, I don't think it should be called a study, but an article and personal opinion, rather.

    Carnitine is very close to the B vitamin group, it's structure however, is the reason it's labeled an Amino-Acid. L-Carnitine acts as a "Vehicle" for fatty acids, which are burned for energy. That's its main purpose. This is why it's marketed so much as a major energy source, and the "malate" version is used widely and in high doses by athletes.

    The reason it's used as part of a fat-loss diet is because it uses your fat for energy. It great for your muscles, too. Muscular dystrophy has been associated with it's deficiency.

    Carnitine is produced by the body if your tissue contains sufficient amounts of B1, Lysine, iron and more... which a lot don't, making supplementation necessary.

    I will continue to consume 3000 mg of L-Carnitine daily. As I have been for many years.
    Quote Originally Posted by Docd187123 View Post
    The first thing that pops out at me is their sample population: "They evaluated 2,595 patients undergoing heart exams". Most ppl under 55yo, who don't smoke, and don't have history of highBP or high cholesterol are considered low risk and probably wouldn't be undergoing heart exams to begin with so that population is indicative of ppl who have increased likelihood of heart disease, not the population as a whole. Young and middle aged ppl who regularly work out and diet using proper nutritional fundamentals are at a much much lower risk of heart disease than their sample set.

    I also see no mention of actual study design so for all I know the only thing they're going on is correlational data not experimental and that's what it seems like it is.

    According to Dr. Krumholtz "they are working off the presumption that read meat causes heart disease" which even the medical literature is conflicted upon.

    The study says "predicted increased risks for both prevalent cardiovascular disease (CVD) and incident major adverse cardiac events (myocardial infarction, stroke or death), but only among subjects with concurrently high TMAO levels "

    But them goes on to say "Chronic dietary L-carnitine supplementation in mice altered cecal microbial composition, markedly enhanced synthesis of TMA and TMAO, and increased atherosclerosis, but this did not occur if intestinal microbiota was concurrently suppressed. In mice with an intact intestinal microbiota, dietary supplementation with TMAO or either carnitine or choline reduced in vivo reverse cholesterol transport. Intestinal microbiota may thus contribute to the well-established link between high levels of red meat consumption and CVD risk."

    ^^ so keeping intestinal microbiota would negate the risk of TMAO leading to CVD???

    Can't see the whole study and don't want to pay for it so Austinite, would you mind giving your thoughts on this and what your reasoning is for debunking. Not that I disagree with you, I'd just like to see if you had access to the full study and what your thoughts were!
    Now saturated fat can have a negative impact on cardiovascular health but that's only if you have pre-existing medical conditions or are taking astronomically high aMounts of saturated fat and not exercising. I doubt that's many of us here. Also anytime you char something on the grill it can become carcinogenic, chicken, potatoes, squash, pork, etc not just red meat.

    I also think with the exception of one link, maybe two, those sources of information should be thrown out right off the bat. The one or two decent ones mis-interpreted studies as noted above. I eat red meat very frequently personally and will continue to do so. Thanks for the read though.
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    gbrice75's Avatar
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    ^^ agree with Doc. Depending on my mood, I'll sometimes eat red meat every day of the week. Sometimes not at all. I don't worry about it one bit either way.

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    Igifuno's Avatar
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    Excellent reply Doc and thx for the added posts. In the studies I was referencing, it only mentioned that adverse effects such as heart disease and cancer were connected to 'processed' meat.m, and the studies could not connect it to unprocessed meat. Too much saturated fat can be harmful so, red meat, just like any other meat, the leaner the better.

    Went to Costco yesterday and avoided red meat (except for pork chops). I feel a little better now.

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    Docd187123 is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by Igifuno View Post
    Excellent reply Doc and thx for the added posts. In the studies I was referencing, it only mentioned that adverse effects such as heart disease and cancer were connected to 'processed' meat.m, and the studies could not connect it to unprocessed meat. Too much saturated fat can be harmful so, red meat, just like any other meat, the leaner the better.

    Went to Costco yesterday and avoided red meat (except for pork chops). I feel a little better now.
    No problem brother. Austinite and I had to deal with this on another forum lol. So long as the majority of your diet comes from whole and minimally processed foods you should be fine!

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    yeahbuddy289's Avatar
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    I have been eating red meat 2x a day for the past couple weeks.... where can I get grass fed/ "natural beef"?

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    Docd187123 is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeahbuddy289 View Post
    I have been eating red meat 2x a day for the past couple weeks.... where can I get grass fed/ "natural beef"?
    Your butcher or local grocer may carry it but its generally more expensive. You can also look online and many ranchers will sell cuts online that get delivered in thermal bags/wrapping.Or raise your own cattle and get the best of both worlds hahaha

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    Quote Originally Posted by Docd187123 View Post
    Your butcher or local grocer may carry it but its generally more expensive. You can also look online and many ranchers will sell cuts online that get delivered in thermal bags/wrapping.Or raise your own cattle and get the best of both worlds hahaha
    Most grocery stores don't differentiate between them. So I assume most are grain-fed. Even the organic stuff I'd suspect isn't really grass-fed. I think probably the best way to get the right cuts is to go to a specialty butcher's shop. But those can get pretty pricey. As it is, a 1lb ribeye can go between $8 and $12 (unless it's on sale), paying higher prices would make my food bill astronomical (as if it isn't already). And I prefer the fatter cuts anyways. If you were able to make 100% lean steak, it'd taste like shit. The fat is the best part and gives the meat the right texture.

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    I eat Steak tartare quite often as it is one of my favorite dishes. Also SUPER easy to "cook" :-)

    Thanks
    ~T


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    Docd187123 is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by Honkey_Kong View Post
    Most grocery stores don't differentiate between them. So I assume most are grain-fed. Even the organic stuff I'd suspect isn't really grass-fed. I think probably the best way to get the right cuts is to go to a specialty butcher's shop. But those can get pretty pricey. As it is, a 1lb ribeye can go between $8 and $12 (unless it's on sale), paying higher prices would make my food bill astronomical (as if it isn't already). And I prefer the fatter cuts anyways. If you were able to make 100% lean steak, it'd taste like shit. The fat is the best part and gives the meat the right texture.
    Yes most places won't Carry grass fed beef but I've found some that do. You've got to ask around or be willing to buy online if nothing close to you carries it. Organic does not mean grass fed. Organic means no antibiotics or hormones are given to the animals, no pesticides/herbicides used in their meal, etc. Organic can be grain fed or grass fed.

    I also prefer fattier cuts of meat. Ribeye, filet mingon, etc are my favorites. Sirloin sand top round are some of the less fatty cuts and while I will not eat them grilled, there are a few middle eastern dishes that require lean meat.

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