Expert refutes review linking meat and heart disease

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Monday, January 31, 2011

C. In a letter published in Circulation, University of Texas Health Science Center’s Nathan S. Bryan, Ph.D., raised concerns that a 2010 epidemiological review, lacked the proper physiological perspective and context for accurate interpretation of the data.

The review “Red and Processed Meat Consumption and Risk of Incident Coronary Heart Disease, Stroke and Diabetes Mellitus,” by Micha et al reported a weak association between red meats and coronary heart disease (CHD) and diabetes mellitus. According to Bryan, the authors suggest that the increased risk may be due to nitrites and nitrates used as preservatives but data presented in their review indicated minimal difference in the nitrite and nitrate content of red versus processed meats, which reflected the fact that endogenous nitrogen oxides in meat or muscle exceed that added in meat processing.

In addition, Bryan pointed out that their conclusions appear to contrast the emerging cardiovascular benefits of nitrite and nitrate. Dietary nitrite and nitrate have been shown to reduce inflammation, restore endothelial function, reduce C-reactive protein, protect from heart attack, stoke and even improve exercise performance.

Studies such as this and others left scientists and consumers alike confused as to what they should or should not eat, Bryan wrote. His point was not to discredit important epidemiological data but rather to put it in proper perspective, Bryan concluded.

To view Bryan’s letter, click here.
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