Study under review: Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials of Red Meat Consumption in Comparison With Various Comparison Diets on Cardiovascular Risk Factors.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. The development of cardiovascular disease occurs throughout the lifespan and is best thought of as the accumulation of risk factors over time. Hemodynamics (e.g. blood pressure), blood lipids (e.g. cholesterol and triglycerides), and glycemia (blood sugar) are key contributors to cardiovascular risk. As many of these risk factors can be altered through diet, nutritional interventions have received much attention as a means to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Red meat has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in large, epidemiological studies and is thought to be causative in the pathogenesis of heart disease, likely due to its effects on blood lipids and blood pressure. However, meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials looking at red meat’s effects on cardiovascular risk factors are inconsistent with the epidemiological evidence.
One such meta-analysis is explored in Study Deep Dives #30, Volume 1. The meta-analysis concluded that red meat intake per se does not alter blood lipids or blood pressure. However, this analysis did not differentiate between different types of comparison diets (e.g. plant-based diets or fish-based diets), nor did the authors perform a dose-response analysis based on a continuous measure of red meat intake to determine if increasing meat intake also increased risk, which is one sign of a causal link. The purpose of this study was to fill this gap by conducting an updated systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the effects of red meat intake on cardiovascular risk factors by comparing red meat to all other comparison diets, as well as a dose-response analysis.
Elevated blood pressure, blood lipids, and blood glucose are key risk factors for cardiovascular disease. As these can be altered through dietary modification, nutrition interventions have been viewed as a potential way to reduce cardiovascular disease. This study was a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials designed to assess the effect of red meat intake on cardiovascular risk factors by comparing red meat to all other comparison diets and running a dose-response analysis.
Other Articles in Issue #56 (June 2019)
Mini: Early nutritional interventions for atopic disease prevention in infants and children
In this Mini, we summarize the main takeaways from a recent update to the American Academy of Pediatric’s report on dietary interventions that can help prevent atopic diseases.
Early vs. late time-restricted feeding: is when we break the fast important for metabolic health?
Intermittent fasting is one method that may help prevent people at risk for diabetes from developing the disease. This study explored whether the time of the eating window mattered for at-risk men.
Gluten-free menu items often not so gluten-free
Eating out can be hard for people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Gluten-free labels on menus can help somewhat, but only if they're reliable.
Keto diets: Are their metabolic effects only due to caloric restriction?
This study follows up on a carefully controlled study we covered back in NERD #22, Volume 2. Its goal was to explore whether keto diets' metabolic effects can be teased out from their effects on bodyweight.
Can restless legs be ‘ironed out’?
People with iron deficiency have a higher risk of restless leg syndrome. This meta-analysis found that iron supplementation can have a clinically meaningful impact on symptoms.
Mini: The state of the evidence for caffeine’s effect on exercise performance
There's little doubt that caffeine boosts athletic performance. The question is: does it boost certain kinds of performance better than others?
Can fasting keep the holiday pounds off?
A lot of people gain weight over the holiday season. This study explored whether intermittent fasting may be useful in putting the brakes on holiday weight gain.