Red Meat: Not So Good For Your Heart. Here’s More Proof

Red meat cow cardiac disease

A couple years ago I wrote a post discussing data showing how some red meats are bad for your heart; now a major new study again confirms this concept. This huge study from the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed data from 2 studies which followed 120,000 people over 20 years. They found that the more red meat people ate (especially processed meats) the more people died from heart disease. Here’s a nice summary from the very cool Meatless Mondays website:

…They discovered just one 3-ounce serving of red meat daily (about the size of a deck of playing cards) was associated with a 13% greater chance of dying over the course of the study. What’s more, participants who consumed daily servings of processed meats like hot dogs and bacon were at 20% higher risk of mortality. As the amount of meat consumed increased, so did the risk of death.

Conversely, replacing beef and pork with a serving of nuts, legumes, whole grains or low-fat dairy seemed to improve longevity. Nut consumption was linked to a 19% lower risk of dying during the study, whole grains with a 14% reduction, and beans and dairy with a 10% decrease in mortality.

“Any red meat you eat contributes to the risk,” An Pan, a postdoctoral fellow and lead author of the study told the LA Times, “If you want to eat red meat, eat the unprocessed products, and reduce it to two or three servings a week,” he said. “That would have a huge impact on public health.”

Dr. Dean Ornish, a UC San Francisco researcher and author of an editorial that accompanied the study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, agrees, suggesting that red meat lovers can reduce their risk by cutting meat one day a week. “Something as simple as a Meatless Monday can help,” he said. “Even small changes can make a difference”

I discuss this article on my March 14th weekly radio interview on EZFM’s Beijing Hour. Paul and I also discuss a Xinhua news report discussing the lastest campaign to decrease the massive overuse of antibiotics in Chinese hospitals.

Click on the arrow below to listen to this podcast, or click here.

More Podcast Information

You can listen to all my previous podcasts at my podcast archive. You can always listen live to my radio interview each Wednesday around 7:35am Beijing time, on the Beijing Hour program on EZFM 91.5, which is broadcast from 7-8am every weekday by host Paul James. EZFM is the popular bilingual radio station on the China Radio International network, broadcasting here in Beijing and on multiple stations all over the world, as well as live online.

Follow me on:
Twitter @RichardStCyrMD
Facebook @BainbridgeBabaDoc

2 thoughts on “Red Meat: Not So Good For Your Heart. Here’s More Proof”

  1. Hi Richard,

    It seems to me that there were serious flaws with this study, including the fact that it is entirely correlative, with no explanation of causative mechanisms, the fact that ‘red meat’ was treated as a single category, encompassing everything from highly nutritious grass-fed beef to wendy’s hamburgers (accompanied by buns made of refined carbs etc.), and that it was based on questionnaire responses which required people to recollect what they had eaten several years ago. The findings even stated that eating red meat is The study is pretty effectively debunked here: and here:

    As we are now finally working out that saturated fats are not actually causative of heart disease or stroke ( and, and that well raised red meat is actually extremely nutritious (, I think it’s about time that doctors stopped demonising red meat and got up to speed on the facts – that the majority of modern nutrition advice is seriously flawed and having basically zero impact on addressing current epidemics of obesity, diabetes, etc.

    Otherwise great blog – keep up the good work.


Leave a Reply