NEW YORK, BRONX (ORDO News) — Inflammation has long been recognized as a risk factor for the development of various chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease. Because of this, there are many recommendations to limit your consumption of red meat, as it is believed to have a negative impact on inflammation. However, recent research has challenged this assumption, leading scientists to question the validity of these recommendations.
Dr. Alexis Wood, assistant professor of pediatrics-nutrition at the USDA/ARS Child Nutrition Research Center, and her collaborators attempted to further explore the link between diet, particularly red meat consumption, and inflammation. They aimed to use blood metabolite data to establish a more direct link between diet and health.
The researchers analyzed cross-sectional data from approximately 4,000 older adults who participated in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Cross-sectional data are valuable for studying the effects of diet on health because they allow people to be observed in their natural environment without influencing their lifestyle. In addition, the researchers measured various biomarkers and dietary metabolites in the participants’ blood to gain a complete picture of the impact of diet on inflammation.
Unlike previous studies, the researchers found that when controlling for body mass index (BMI), consumption of unprocessed and processed red meat (beef, pork or lamb) was not directly associated with any markers of inflammation. This suggests that body weight, rather than red meat consumption, may be the main factor causing increased systemic inflammation. Notably, there was no association found between red meat consumption and C-reactive protein (CRP), one of the main risk markers for inflammation in chronic diseases.
Dr. Wood emphasized the importance of using plasma markers, such as metabolites, to track associations between diet and disease risk, rather than relying solely on self-reports of dietary intake. She said: “Our analysis does not support previous observational studies linking red meat consumption and inflammation.”
While this study challenges the common belief that red meat consumption leads to inflammation, it is important to note that observational studies cannot establish cause and effect. To gain a more complete understanding, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are needed. RCTs randomly assign people to consume or not consume a particular dietary factor, allowing researchers to determine its effect on inflammation.
Dr. Wood’s study adds to a growing body of evidence calling for further research in this area. It highlights the need for RCTs to provide more data on whether red meat actually has no effect on inflammation. It should be noted that several RCTs have already demonstrated that lean, unprocessed beef can be used as part of a cardiovascular diet.
Dr. Frank Hu, Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. School of Public Health. T.H. Chan, commented on the results of the study. He said: “This study provides insight into the complex relationship between diet, inflammation and the risk of chronic disease. While some previous studies have linked red meat to increased inflammation, the new study challenges these findings and suggests that body weight may be a more significant factor.” “.
Dr Hu stressed the need for further research to better understand the effects of red meat on inflammation and disease risk. He said: “It is important to conduct well-designed randomized controlled trials to determine the true impact of red meat consumption on inflammation and chronic disease.”
News agencies contributed to this report, edited and published by ORDO News editors.
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