Claim: Red meat substance (L-carnitine) linked with heart disease; RealityDrop — No credible evidence meat-consumption associated with heart disease

The premise of the new Nature Medicine study is that that red meat consumption is linked to heart disease risk. But this is not true.

First, all the “research” supposedly linking meat and meat products with heart disease are weak association studies.

Next, this 2010 Harvard review study reported:

Red meat intake was not associated with CHD (n=4 studies; relative risk per 100-g serving per day=1.00; 95% confidence interval, 0.81 to 1.23; P for heterogeneity=0.36) or diabetes mellitus (n=5; relative risk=1.16; 95% confidence interval, 0.92 to 1.46; P=0.25).

While it may be true that meat-eaters may have higher levels of “proatherogenic” compounds (as per the new study), this is a far cry from evidence, much less proof, that meat consumption causes heart disease.

Also keep in mind that atherosclerosis (and, hence, heart disease) is an entirely natural and as yet unexplained phenomenon.

Read more about the new study.

14 thoughts on “Claim: Red meat substance (L-carnitine) linked with heart disease; RealityDrop — No credible evidence meat-consumption associated with heart disease”

  1. A much higher percentage of folks (100%) who have heart attacks have breathed air, drank water, and eaten something that has been processed in some way. So, there must be some correlation.

  2. Age is something that is (luckily) inevitable. Living past your time is bad for society, hugely costly and honestly very egotistical. And not fun at all. All those who are so desperate to live long i’d advise strongly to visit retirement homes regularly to see what it’s like, because the chances that you have those particular genes that will let you live disease free at home till over a 100 and drop dead instantly are extremely slim.

  3. Howdy Petrossa
    Evolution works to remove traits that prevent successful reproduction and recruiting of adults into the breeding population. Since atherosclerosis is generally a condition of age, after most people have raised their children and recruited them, evolution would tend to remove such a trait slowly or maybe not at all, all the more since some people have atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis without actual heart damage.
    In the same way, since cancer and Type II diabetes tend to be conditions that appear after child-raising years, evolution would have much less opportunity to remove them. Add the idea that, during our development, most hominids died of infection or injury before atherosclerosis could do any selecting, and it’s hard to see how evolution would act to remove conditions we associate mostly with age.
    It sounds strange at first, but an adaptation that sustains us through our child-rearing period might well be conserved through evolution even if it later acts to ease us off this mortal coil. All of that assumes that our diet is a big player in the conditions of age, an assumption that is only vaguely supported by evidence I’ve seen.

  4. If eating red meat caused heart disease, there would be no humans neither. Bit silly idea the main staple for hominids for over millions of years would be deadly. That’s not the way evolution works imho.

  5. Not to belabor the point but our digestive system isn’t setup to survive long time on fruits, seeds, roots only. We can however survive quite well on whole carcasses only. Put a human in the wild without means to prepare food and he’ll quickly perish if not eating meat in some form.

    As such we are no way or form omnivores. That is a mistaken observation based on the religious notion we are more than animals. Preparing otherwise indigestible food for consumption doesn’t make one a plant eater.

    So to all intents and purposes, based on digestive tract and dentures we are carnivores capable to sustain short times on starch and fruit.

    The nearest thing to us that is a real omnivore , the gorilla, has a totally different gut and needs to eat 5 times it’s weight a day to survive.

    Digesta Passage, Digestibility and Behavior
    in Captive Gorillas Under Two Dietary Regimens

    The evidence showed animal DNA infeces of both control and study groups.

  6. There are those who argue that humans are obligate carnivores. However, I’ll stand by my earlier comment.

  7. In 1884 Robert Koch and Friedrich Loeffler formulated 4 postulates to positively identify a disease-causing agent. While originally formulated for microbes according to the prevailing “germ theory” of disease, very little modification is required to make them applicable to other causes of diseases.
    Until an actual cause is found for heart disease, treatments will be made of guesswork, and cures will be a matter of luck. Such a cause will need to satisfy the generalized Koch’s Postulates, just as enteric Gram-negative bacteria (Enterobacter cloacae) have been proven (yes!) to cause deposition of fat in the peritoneum when fed oily or high-fat diets.
    We are nowhere near that yet, and spreading dietary superstitions will not get us there.
    If eating red meat caused heart disease, there would be no cats.

  8. I bet a very high percentage of folks who have heart attacks have eaten red meat at least once. So, there must be some correlation.

  9. No i was quite aware.
    om·ni·vore (mn-vôr, -vr)
    1. An omnivorous person or animal.
    2. One that takes in everything available, as with the mind.
    [From New Latin Omnivora, omnivores, from neuter pl. of Latin omnivorus, omnivorous; see omnivorous.]

    omnifer -fera -ferum [bearing everything].

    omnigenus -a -um [of all kinds].

    omnimodis [in every way , entirely].

    omnino [altogether , entirely, wholly; in general, in all; certainly, admittedly].

    omniparens -entis [all-producing].

    omnipotens -entis [almighty].

    omnis -e [all , every, whole; of all kinds]; in sing. [each, or the whole of one person or thing].

    omnituens -entis [all-seeing].

    omnivagus -a -um [wandering everywhere].

    So Omnivore means ‘everything eater’ and was used in the sense that homo sapiens could eat everything other animals ate. Since we can’t we aren’t. QED.

    That later the vegetarian crowd managed to get that reduced to eating animal and plants in general to fit a particular agenda doesn’t change the meaning of the word. It is what is.

  10. I think you may have inadvertently misspoke. Hominidae (that includes you and me) are omnivores. What I think you meant is that we are not herbivores.

  11. The link between red meat and cancer is at least easy to explain. Frying causes aromatic esters to be formed. Practically all red meat is fried,roasted in some form. So not the meat but the preparation method is the (if any) causal link.

    Still it leaves one to wonder why evolution would cause carnivores that can digest starch ( we are not omnivores, try and live of twigs and leaves) to be susceptible to meat related heath problems.

  12. Heart disease causing early death (before age 65 or so) is largely genetic. Heart attacks, strokes and cancer causing death later in life is how humans die when they are fortunate enough to have lived long lives. It is important to seperate these two conditions when looking at heart disease or other major causes of death. I assume I will die before my late 80’s or 90’s the statistics are hard to argue with. I also assume I will die from heart attack, cancer or stroke because again statistically that is what kills older people. The big three kills vegetarians, meat eaters and drunks fairliy indiscriminately. The real question and the unasked question in this report is what was the agenda of those backing the study?

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