Health Effects of Consuming Too Much of Red Meat



The rising incidence of cancer, diabetes, stroke and CVDs especially in developing countries has been linked to growing patronage for processed red meat products and sugary drinks. Red meat, especially processed contains ingredients that have been linked to increase of chronic diseases. They include sodium, nitrites, fat, heme iron, saturated fat and certain carcinogens that form during cooking. 

The following red flags have been raised though:
Cardiovascular Disease:

Animal-based dietary fats, such as the ones found in red meat, can contribute to risk factors associated with heart disease and stroke. They add cholesterol and saturated fats to the diet which can form plaques along the lining of the arteries; called atherosclerosis and raises blood pressure as the heart has to work harder to send blood through. This could lead to stroke, hypertension and other CVDs. It could. Also lead to weight gain.

The iron in red meat (heme iron) could easily undergo a chemical change in the gut to form carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds associated with, for instance colo-rectal cancer. The fat contained in red meat might be a contributing factor in the incidence of estrogen and progesterone sensitive breast cancer.
Diabetes :
This is mostly applicable to processed red meat. Processed meat contains nitrosoamines which are toxic to the pancreatic. Cells that produce insulin. Moreover, chemical changes to red meat during cooking or processing can lead to insulin resistance in the cells and tissues. 

Red meat May Increase Alzheimers Disease Risk:

Scientists believe when proteins called Tau (an unstable subatomic particle of the lepton class) and beta-amyloid (a starch like protein that is deposited in the liver, kidneys, spleen or other tissues in certain diseases) accumulate in the brain, they may either disrupt nerve cells or kill them- and this may be the cause of Alzheimers disease. How does this concern red meat? meat is filled with iron and high intake may incur build up.

Cooking method for all meats can affect the health risks associated with consuming them.
Pan frying at high heat or grilling over an open flame can cause the amino acids, creatinine and sugar in red meat to form heterocyclic amines, compounds that cause genetic mutations. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons can form when fats and liquid from red meat drip into open flames and then adhere to the meat as the flames return to the food surface. Both these chemicals can alter the structure of the DNA and potentially increase cancer risk. Cooking over low heat and avoiding grillled red meat can help limit intake of heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Red meat includes fresh beef, pork, lamb, mutton and veal, as well as processed meat that come from these animal sources. These foods can add value to the diet as they are rich in protein, B-vitamins and zinc. However their saturated fat and cholesterol content might adversely affect health. Therefore, you are advised to stick to lean meat; i.e one devoid of visible fat. Also the manner in which red meat is produced, processed and cooked can also impact on well-being. For these reasons, limiting intake of red meat can improve health and lower risk of developing disease.
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