Red Meats Eaten Every Day Triple Heart Disease Risk

Red meats eaten every day will triple your risk for developing heart disease, a study by Cleveland Clinic researchers shows.


Trimethyl-amine N-oxide (TMAO) is a dietary byproduct that is formed by gut bacteria during digestion.

This chemical comes from nutrients that are plentiful in red meats. In fact, high saturated fat levels in red meat are well known to contribute to heart disease. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.


Previous research have already shown that TMAO increases cholesterol deposits in the artery wall. High levels of TMAO cause clotting to occur and increase the risk for clot-events such as heart attack and stroke.


Red Meats: Study Results

One hundred and thirteen healthy men and women participated in a one month trial. Three different diets were fed to them in random order.  All meals contained 25% of calories from protein. The proteins came from either red meat, white meat, or non-meat sources.


The red meats diet, contained the equivalent of  8 ounces of steak daily. This is the equivalent of two quarter-pound beef patties.

After one month on this diet, blood levels of  TMAO were three times higher compared to diets of white meat and non-protein sources.


It’s important to note that these TMAO increases were reversible. Discontinuation of the red meats diet for an additional month significantly decreased TMAO levels.

This dramatic turn-around highlights the dangerous effects red meat has on heart health.

These findings also reinforce current dietary recommendations that encourage all ages to limit red meats. Setting up and sticking to a heart-healthy eating plan that limits red meat just make sense.


Healthy diets should include eating a variety of foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods. You should also add plant-based protein sources such as beans and peas.

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