Red meat health risks remain, but changing how it’s cooked may help

A new study out of Australia has linked red meat to various health risks — something that isn’t surprising given the existing body of evidence linking the two. However, this study sheds light on one of the reasons red meat increases this risk while highlighting one potential way to reduce it: changing how the meat is cooked. Grilling, it turns out, isn’t so good for one’s heart.

Though some controversy remains, red meat is largely associated with health risks, ones primarily revolving around the heart. Working in partnership with Gyeongsang National University, researchers with the University of South Australia have linked red meat with increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and overall cardiovascular disease.

The reason is narrowed down to compounds known as advanced glycation end products, more commonly called AGEs. People consume AGEs from foods, some of which are more plentiful than others, and the compound starts to build up in the body. These AGEs can eventually interfere with the cellular functions in one’s body; the protein has been linked with increased risk for things like diabetes complications, stroke, and heart attack.

When comparing two different diets, the study found that those consuming processed grains and large amounts of red meat have much higher blood levels of AGE when compared to those who consumed whole grains, nuts, dairy, and white meats cooked using non-searing methods like boiling and steaming.

The findings indicate that one may reduce their risk of heart disease, as well as stroke and heart attack, by reducing how much red meat they eat. If that’s not an option, then one may, at best, benefit from changing the way they cook the red meat, switching from grilling and frying to slow cooking and steaming.

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