Men who frequently eat even moderate amounts of processed red meat are at a higher risk of death from heart failure, a new study finds.
Red meat is known to have many negative effects on a person's health. And if this meat is processed, the consequences could be more dire, especially for men. Researchers of a new study found that men who frequently eat even moderate amounts of processed red meat are at a higher risk of incidences and death from heart failure. Processed meat has a lot of added preservatives. It also undergoes procedures like excessive smoking, curing and salting.
"Processed red meat commonly contains sodium, nitrates, phosphates and other food additives, and smoked and grilled meats also contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, all of which may contribute to the increased heart failure risk," said Alicja Wolk, senior author of the study, in a press statement. "Unprocessed meat is free from food additives and usually has a lower amount of sodium."
The study was conducted on 37,035 men, aged between 45 and 79 years, with no history of heart failure, ischemic heart disease or cancer. All participants were asked to fill in questionnaires about their lifestyle and dietary habits. The researchers followed the participants from 1998 to 2010.
During this period, 2,891 men were diagnosed with heart failure and 266 died from the condition. Researchers found that the men who ate more than 75 grams of processed red meat daily were at a 28 percent higher risk of heart failure than men who ate less than 25 grams of processed red meat daily. This reading was taken after adjusting all influencing factors. Such men were also at a twofold higher risk of dying from heart failure. Every 50 grams increase in the daily consumption of red meat increased heart failure risk by 8 percent and the risk of dying from the condition by 38 percent.
"To reduce your risk of heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases, we suggest avoiding processed red meat in your diet, and limiting the amount of unprocessed red meat to one to two servings per week or less," said Joanna Kaluza, Ph.D., study author. "Instead, eat a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grain products, nuts and increase your servings of fish."
Very recently, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health's Department of Nutrition found that women who consume too much red meat are at a higher risk of breast cancer. Previous studies have confirmed that red meat increases the risk of bowel cancer. To reduce such risks, people who consume more than 90g of red and processed meat a day should cut down their consumption to 70g, the Department of Health suggests.
According to the American Heart Association, people should eat a dietary pattern that has large quantities of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, and nuts while limiting red meat and sugary foods and beverages. For people who eat meat, choose lean meats and poultry without skin and eat fish at least twice a week, preferably fish high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, trout, and herring.
The study was funded by the Swedish Research Council/Medicine and the Swedish Research Council/Infrastructure. Findings were published online in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal.