Red Meat Strikes Back


Anyone following a paleo lifestyle, or just fond of a steak dinner, has probably seen recent news linking red meat to heart disease, through the effects of carnitine in the blood.

There have been a number of responses from the paleo community, but this one from Chris Kresser is especially good in that it points out the weaknesses of the study and provides a strong overview of the subject without resorting to hyperbole:

The gist of it is that epidemiological evidence does not support the causal link between meat consumption and heart disease, and vegetarians do not seem to be protected from atherosclerosis in the manner one would assume, if steak were so dangerous.

Essentially, the takeaway from this controversy is that a healthy diet and conscious avoidance of processed foods is firmly connected to a lowering of the chance of heart disease. Skipping meat is not.

Kresser’s opinion is that eating red meat in the context of an unhealthy diet (as many Americans do), might very well lead to increased risk. But it is the unhealthy diet, not the meat per se that is the problem.