Red hot meat: the wrong recipe for heart disease

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In a new study, researchers found new evidence that high-heat caramelization could be bad for health.

They found that consuming red and processed meat increased a protein compound that may increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and complications in diabetes.

The finding provides important dietary insights for people at risk of such diseases.

The research was conducted by a team from the University of South Australia and elsewhere.

Largely preventable, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of death globally. In Australia, it represents one in five of all deaths.

The study tested the impacts of two diets—one high in red meat and processed grains and the other high in whole grains dairy, nuts and legumes, and white meat using steaming, boiling, stewing, and poaching cooking methods.

It found that the diet high in red meat significantly increased AGE levels in blood suggesting it may contribute to disease progression

The team says when red meat is seared at high temperatures, such as grilling, roasting, or frying, it creates compounds called advanced glycation end products—or AGEs—which when consumed, can accumulate in the body and interfere with normal cell functions.

Consumption of high-AGE foods can increase the total daily AGE intake by 25%, with higher levels contributing to vascular and myocardial stiffening, inflammation, and oxidative stress—all signs of degenerative disease.

While there are still questions about how dietary AGEs are linked to chronic disease, this research shows that eating red meat will alter AGE levels.

The message is pretty clear: if we want to reduce heart disease risk, we need to cut back on how much red meat we eat or be more considered about how we cook it.

Frying, grilling, and searing may be the preferred cooking methods of top chefs, but this might not be the best choice for people looking to cut their risk of disease.

One author of the study is UniSA researcher Dr. Permal Deo.

The study is published in Nutrients.

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