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In the world of nutrition, there has been ongoing debate about the health effects of consuming red meat. Some argue that it is unhealthy and can lead to heart disease. But is there any truth to these claims? Let's examine the evidence and put this argument to rest once and for all.

To properly evaluate the supposed harmful effects of red meat, we must first understand the type of research that is often used to support these claims. Epidemiological research, which involves studying the dietary habits of populations and their association with disease outcomes, is frequently cited in these discussions. However, caution must be exercised when interpreting epidemiological studies. It is important to note that both sides of the argument tend to selectively use this research based on their preexisting beliefs.

While it is a valuable tool, it is not without limitations and should be considered in context. Red meat consumption has been linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes in some studies. These studies follow individuals over time, assessing their dietary habits and examining the development of chronic diseases. It is crucial to acknowledge that some of these studies may not follow individuals for a sufficient duration to observe the actual occurrence of conditions like heart disease or cancer.

Furthermore, the significance of certain risk factors, such as LDL cholesterol, has been questioned in recent publications. The dogmatic stance that higher LDL cholesterol increases the risk of cardiovascular disease lacks solid evidence when examining LDL as a whole or total cholesterol. More research is needed to understand the complex relationship between red meat consumption, LDL cholesterol, and cardiovascular health. It is also important to consider the methodology often employed in studies investigating the association between red meat and cancer.

Many of these studies rely on self-reported dietary information, which may lead to inaccuracies. For example, when individuals mention red meat, they often refer to processed meats like hamburgers and hot dogs. A person who frequently visits fast-food chains may report higher red meat consumption, potentially skewing the results of these studies.

When evaluating the claims that red meat is harmful to our health, it is essential to critically analyze the evidence. While some studies suggest connections between red meat consumption and certain diseases, limitations exist in the research methodologies employed. Factors such as study duration, self-reported dietary data, and the significance of certain risk factors call for further investigation. It is crucial not to generalize all red meat as harmful based on these studies alone. Including a variety of protein sources in a balanced diet remains key to maintaining overall health and well-being.

As the scientific community continues to explore the complex relationship between diet and disease, it is essential to base our opinions on the most robust and comprehensive evidence available. Remember, the truth about red meat being harmful may not be as straightforward as it seems.

In this episode, you'll discover:

  • Ongoing nutrition debate questions the alleged harmful effects of red meat consumption, particularly its connection to heart disease.
  • The frequent use of epidemiological research in this debate, emphasizing its value but cautioning about its limitations. It notes selective use by both sides based on preexisting beliefs and highlights links between red meat and conditions like prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes.
  • Critical evaluation of evidence is crucial when assessing claims of red meat harm. They discuss limitations in study methodologies, including self-reported dietary information and questions the significance of risk factors like LDL cholesterol. 

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Dr. Latt Mansor:

So what about those people who say red meat is, unhealthy and cause heart disease? Let's put this argument to, to rest right now.  Show me the evidence is what I always say. 

Chris Irvin

Yeah, if you look at a lot of the evidence that's used to support that it's epidemiological research.

Which I talk about a lot and I will say we have to be careful about that because, there's also a lot of people in the carnivore and keto community that use epidemiological research when it supports what they want. But then they don't use it, they throw it out when it doesn't agree with what they say.

But in general, for those that aren't familiar, epidemiological research is a type of research in which they follow populations of people, either retroactively, they look in the past or they follow them going forward and they look at things like dietary habits in this case, and then they try to relate that to disease outcomes in this case.

So when you see these studies that will say, red meat consumption increases the risk of prostate cancer, or, recently there was a big Harvard stance. This said that red meat increased type two diabetes risk. And you look at these studies and what they are is again, they're following people over a period of time, having them report their diets and then assessing their risk of chronic disease.

Some of these studies aren't even following them long enough. So that's, this is a big thing here. So some of these studies aren't following them long enough to actually see if they develop something like. Heart disease or cancer, they're looking at risk factors, which, as we've been learning, some of these risk factors are actually pretty weak.

This year, there's been a lot of publications that have come out talking about LDL cholesterol as a standalone risk factor, and the evidence really isn't there. Just looking at LDL as a whole or total cholesterol. But That is what the dogmatic stance is. So if you're talking about if red meat increases LDL, then some people will say that increases your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Does it really, we don't know. But then there are studies that will actually follow people, for long enough to see if they, do they have a heart attack, do they develop cancer of any sort? The cancer ones are actually interesting because a lot of times what they'll do is they'll just get a group of people who have cancer and then say, what did you eat?

And then they'll try to figure out and the gist of all of this, what matters is that when people are reporting red meat, what they're reporting is hamburgers, they're reporting hot dogs, they're reporting, these, like if somebody says they went to McDonald's every single day and got a big Mac, that would be marked as red meat.

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