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Does the consumption of red meat cause the dreaded inflammation? A new study refutes what was thought

MADRID, 4 Nov.

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Does the consumption of red meat cause the dreaded inflammation? A new study refutes what was thought


Inflammation is a risk factor for many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and the impact of diet on inflammation is an area of ​​growing scientific interest. In particular, recommendations to limit red meat consumption are often based, in part, on older studies suggesting that red meat negatively affects inflammation, although more recent studies have not supported this.

A new study, published in 'The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition', has found no relationship between the consumption of red meat and the dreaded inflammation.

"The role of diet, including red meat, in inflammation and disease risk has not been adequately studied, which may lead to public health recommendations that are not based on strong evidence," said Dr. Alexis Wood. , associate professor of pediatrics and nutrition at the USDA/ARS Child Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital. Our team sought to take a closer look by using data from metabolites in the blood, which may provide a more direct link between diet and health."

Wood and his team analyzed cross-sectional data obtained from approximately 4,000 older adults participating in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Cross-sectional data are a useful source of evidence about how diet affects health; They use data observed with people who live freely, without trying to influence their usual lifestyle.

In this way, it may be easier to take the results of these types of studies and apply them to environments outside of research. In addition to assessing self-reported food intake and several biomarkers, the researchers also measured a number of metabolites of dietary intake in blood. Plasma metabolites may help capture the effects of dietary intake as food is processed, digested, and absorbed.

The researchers found that, once adjusted for body mass index (BMI), intake of processed and unprocessed red meat (beef, pork, or lamb) was not directly associated with any markers of inflammation, suggesting that body weight , and not red meat, may be the factor causing increased systemic inflammation. Especially interesting was the lack of relationship between red meat intake and C-reactive protein (CRP), the main inflammatory risk marker for chronic diseases.

"Our analysis adds to the growing body of evidence indicating the importance of measuring plasma markers, such as metabolites, to track dietary and disease risk associations, rather than relying solely on self-reported dietary intake." patients themselves," Wood says. "Our analysis does not support associations from previous observational research linking red meat intake and inflammation."

Because observational studies cannot indicate cause and effect, randomized controlled trials (RCTs), in which individuals are randomly assigned to consume a dietary factor of interest or not consume it, are necessary as an additional line of evidence to understand adequately if red meat does not alter inflammation. Several RCTs have shown that lean, unprocessed beef can be enjoyed in heart-healthy dietary patterns.

"We have reached a stage where more studies are needed before we can make recommendations to limit red meat consumption to reduce inflammation, if we are to base dietary recommendations on the most up-to-date evidence," Wood said. Red wine is popular, accessible and palatable, and its place in our diet has deep cultural roots. Taking this into account, recommendations on reducing its consumption should be supported by solid scientific evidence, which does not yet exist," he concludes.