Why red meat can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease

5 November 2014        

Grilled meat

New research has helped to explain why eating red meat might increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

According to a study, published in Cell Metabolism, bacteria in the gut can turn a nutrient found in red meat into metabolites that increase the risk of developing heart disease.

A nutrient abundant in red meat, called L-carnitine, can interact with bacteria in the gut and lead to atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries.

Victoria Taylor, our Senior Dietitian, said: “This research is still at a very early stage and is based on mice, so it’s difficult to say whether the same effects would apply to humans.

“We already know that the saturated fats and added salt that can come with red and processed meats can impact our risk of developing coronary heart disease and this might be another reason to consider how much of it we eat.

“Diets that are linked to good heart health, such as the traditional Mediterranean diet, are lower in foods like red meat, and include more pulses, nuts, seeds and fish as protein sources, as well as plenty of fruits and vegetables.”

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