Lee Kirksey, MD  
Cleveland , OH

Specialties: Peripheral Arterial Disease, PAD

Interests: vascular, specialist, treatment options
All Journal Entries Journals

Red Meat- A Heart Attack Waiting!!

Apr 09, 2009 - 20 comments

heart attack risk



The findings appear in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine.

Over 10 years, eating the equivalent of a quarter-pound hamburger daily gave men in the study a 22 percent higher risk of dying of cancer and a 27 percent higher risk of dying of heart disease. That's compared to those who ate the least red meat, just 5 ounces per week.

A recently published study in the Archives of Internal Medicine confirmed what an increasing number of studies show.
Individuals who eat a diet high in animal fats like hamburger and processed meats like cold cuts, hot dogs and bacon have a greater risk of heart attack. It is not rocket science to suggest that if one eats a large amount of cholesterol-the body cannot rid itself of all of that fat. As a person who grew up in the midwest on meat and potatoes- I understand that this information may not be welcome news.  However, I think despite what the powerful meat industry tells us, the writing is on the wall. Eat meat in moderation and ones chance of living longer is increased.

Here are some exerpts from the study

Women who ate large amounts of red meat had a 20 percent higher risk of dying of cancer and a 50 percent higher risk of dying of heart disease than women who ate less.

For processed meats, the increased risks for large quantities were slightly lower overall than for red meat. The researchers compared deaths in the people with the highest intakes to deaths in people with the lowest to calculate the increased risk.

People whose diets contained more white meat like chicken and fish had lower risks of death.

The researchers surveyed more than 545,000 people, ages 50 to 71 years old, on their eating habits, then followed them for 10 years. There were more than 70,000 deaths during that time.

So put down the steak and grab yourself a chicken breast or fresh water salmon. Your heart will thank you later


Post a Comment
Avatar universal
by bastet56, Apr 09, 2009
That's funny, my in-laws are in their mid 80's, have eatten red meat and pork, all fried, all their lives and have NO sign of heart disease at all. They also eat poutlry and fish, also fried. The only time they roast poultry is at Thanksgiving. I should be so lucky to live so long and with such good health.

21064 tn?1309312333
by Momto3, Apr 09, 2009
Dr. Kirksey,

Thank you for posting and summarizing such valuable information.  For me, it's not worth the gamble; others may feel differently.  

746512 tn?1388811180
by Tammy2009, Apr 09, 2009
The problem with the comparsion is that all of people don't eat correctly, and those are the people that are more likely to eat too much meat and not enough veggies/fruits.

All of people that are health concious end up becoming vegetarians and thus are taken out of the equation.  The right amount and kind of meat in the proper diet is just as healthy as no meat at all.  Thus good quality, low fat meat is better for you and in small quanities.  

I love meat so I always do find myself eating too much of it but I am still very healthy because I try and get close to enough fruit and veggies.  

675347 tn?1365464245
by ginger899, Apr 09, 2009
I never eat the stuff anyway. I used to. Then when I had a time I didn't eat it for a while, suddenly when I did again, it tasted horrible to me. I like fish, and there are lots of good recipes, and I eat a lot of pulses for protein, even mushrooms contain a small amount of protein! Nuts and seeds (if you're not allergic) do too, and can be toasted and added to veg. curries or salad... YUM! Good quality wholemeal bread contains some protein. There are lots of other sources of protein besides red meat, which are tasty and good, and will keep you fit and healthy.
I think sometimes people think you're not really a MAN if you don't eat huge steaks and stuff! Not true!

Avatar universal
by Trinity4, Apr 10, 2009
If you ever go through hepc treatment and heaven forbid, I wish that on no one, you'll be very glad you have the red meat.

Avatar universal
by AlaskaAngel, Apr 10, 2009
While our parents and grandparents may have eaten a diet high in red meat, it was not the same as eating the same amount of red meat today. Their lives included more hard exercise, which kept them from adding the kind of fat people add to their weight today. The fats they ate weren't produced with the types and amounts of herbicides, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and other substances. Even though they ate lots of red meat, they also ate lots of home-grown sources of roughage (vegetables, fruits and grains) and a lot less sugar and salt.

I like to eat red meat and eat it in limited quantity, but I've seen how many people end up with strokes and heart attacks in our society partly as a result of that. If we want better health care that doesn't cost us all a fortune in taxes, WE have to TAKE better care of ourselves.

206807 tn?1331939784
by R Glass, Apr 10, 2009
I live in South Louisiana where we are known to eat just about anything. We also fry most of the food we eat. Our Heart Attack rate is not much different from the rest of the nation.
I agree with Chris Rock’s opinion on Red Meat, “Red Meat won’t kill you Green Meat will Kill You and if you are fortunate to get your hands on a Steak, Bite the S**t out of it.” I’m getting dressed to go to the Grocery now to buy Ribs and Steaks to Barbecue for Easter. Enjoy your Easter Tofu.

599170 tn?1300977493
by Cherie762, Apr 10, 2009
well thank you so much I cannot wait to show my husband this  I became a veggie, 6 mths ago now I cant stand the thought of any meat , I get plenty  of protein form beans and dark greens...I have never ever felt better, no more Lipitor and 20 lbs easy lost.

I assume the hot -dogs, cold cuts etc,, are worse because of the nitrates, correct?

9648 tn?1290094807
by GreatBird, Apr 10, 2009
I never understand these studies. Why do they say "1/4 pound hamburger" instead of 4 oz. of lean beef. There is a big difference. Hamburgers come with buns and all sorts of condiments and sauces. Hamburger meat is generally high in fat (unless you make them yourself and buy lower fat ground meat).

Were the people who had higher chances of dying watching their cholesterol?

And how do we know that women who ate "large amounts" (how much *is* that?) of red meat, didn't also drink large amounts of diet soda and ice cream, or other things that aren''t good for you.

OTOH--It's very true that people need to keep an eye on their health, and not just fill up with fast food.

BTW--hot dogs, cold cuts, bacon, etc., don't just have added nitrates, they are often full of salt.

599170 tn?1300977493
by Cherie762, Apr 10, 2009
ok...got ya on the cold cut. bacon thing,,,they are 3 x bad,,,,fatty, salty and nitrates,, seldom let my kids eat them now its never.

689265 tn?1251133687
by worriedbabe, Apr 10, 2009
to bastet56. this is just a description of an exception to the rule...and there are always exceptions. persnally, i'll be eaing less red meat from now on.

599170 tn?1300977493
by Cherie762, Apr 10, 2009
worried babe   you are so right,,,,smoking kills 2 outta 3 so that means 1 person or 33% of smokers live..who wants those odds?? Not me..I personally think nitrates contribute to stomach cancer,,,and all the doctors data on red meat to be true...

784419 tn?1236265356
by Maggdot, Apr 12, 2009
I think that some people are always going to have a predisposition to suffering adverse effects from certain foods, even in small quantities.

And, let's be honest, the professional thinking on such matters is constantly changing.

My father had a massive heart attack at the age of forty-two, in 1969.

He wasn't allowed out of bed for the month he was in hospital and was put on a strict diet.

All meat had to be grilled, diet bread only, switch from butter to margarine, cut cheese and potatoes to a bare minimum all in order to lose half a stone of weight!

He lost the weight, but had to continue with the miserable diet for the rest of his life.

He still suffered a further three heart attacks and died just a month past his fiftieth birthday, in 1975.

I eat a reasonably balanced diet -  and I'm damned if I'll take notice of every little snippet of panic-mongering about how bad certain foods are for us, in an effort to gain a few years extra life.

Especially when the longer people are living the more likely they are to fall victim to dementia!

Avatar universal
by Haddock_Entrap_Propulasion , Apr 13, 2009
I refuse to be afraid of anything that is "real food", steak included.  That said, I have been underweight for most of my life, and am now pregnant and having trouble gaining.  Processed meat makes me nauseated, but when it's not it is invaluable for getting fat and calories...which I realize most people don't need more of, but still.  

Avatar universal
by Deacon2009, Apr 13, 2009
Well it looks like everything that needed to be said has been said. Ultimately it's up to the individual to decide what to eat and when to eat it. My motto is a common one, (All things in moderation), whether it be meat, veggies, or drink. There have even been studies that say too much water can kill you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Avatar universal
by alikona, Apr 13, 2009
If cholesterol and animal fat are the cause of increasing heart attacks, will someone tell me why it is that (at least in the US) consumption rates of animal fats (butter, cream, lard) have steadily decreased in the past century and a half while heart attacks have steadily increased? I think we are just not thinking correctly on this issue.

Avatar universal
by PlateletGal, Apr 15, 2009

Excellent question. I know that one huge contributor to heart disease is air pollution.


~PlateletGal (vegetarian... lol)


Avatar universal
by birdie0907, Apr 17, 2009
To alikona

Another problem is lack of exercise. Look at all the obese (including people who think they are not obese because there are so many bigger people to compare themselves to). Then consider that most of them would have had to do some kind of exercise if they were living a few decades ago, so would have been somewhat slimmer.
Many people today do no form of exercise at all. I am sure anyone can think of some examples amongst their acquaintances.

Avatar universal
by madjlp, Apr 17, 2009
Thank you for the post Dr.  I'd be even more interested to see a study of pasture fed cow meat vs corn fed cow meat - would be nice to index for antibiotics and hormones vs non as well.  Some of the prelim work seems to indicate that the balance of Omega 3 to 6 is considerably altered depending on animal diet which leads to health outcome questions for the consumers of hamburgers (btw - I just had one; it was delicious).

Avatar universal
by brate, May 17, 2009
Isnt it natural for us to believe we are healthy and not suffering from any disease ? I had a similar thought process until my physician asked me to get a heart scan done after he found that my basic cardiograms were not perfect. I discovered that there were calcium deposits in my coronary arteries and I was at a serious risk of a heart attack. I was shocked and went ahead with the Cardiologist's suggestion of an advanced diagnostic scan. Though its always tough to undergo such experiences,I was not at any kind of discomfort at the Elitehealth.com advanced heart scan facility. I am not an expert in medical appliance and machines but could feel that the equipment was world-class and I was in safe hands. That feeling is really very important for me and that's how it actually went on. The facilities for Full Body Scan were as good as they can get.


Post a Comment