Research Roundup: Red Meat & Heart Disease; Vegan Diets & the Gut; Fried Foods

Red Meat Triples Chemical Linked to Heart Disease

A diet rich in red meat, compared to white meat or plant-based protein, triples the levels of Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), a chemical linked to heart disease, researchers say. TMAO seems to increase risk of clot-related events, like heart attack and stroke. Study participants ate three diets in random order, all with 25 percent of calories from protein: red meat, white meat, or non-meat sources. After one month, blood levels of TMAO were three times higher in the red meat eaters than the other two groups. When participants stopped eating the red meat diet for another month, TMAO levels significantly dropped.

(European Heart Journal, February 2019)

Vegan Diets Are Good for the Gut

Plant-based diets promote an increase in gut hormones and satiety in healthy, obese, and diabetic men, according to research. Sixty men—20 healthy, 20 with type 2 diabetes, and 20 with obesity—ate a vegan meal and a meal containing meat and cheese with the same amount of calories and macronutrients. After each meal, they found an increase in beneficial gut hormones in all three groups after they ate the vegan meal, but not after the other meal. These hormones regulate blood sugar, increase feelings of fullness, enhance insulin secretion, and can help keep weight down.

(Nutrients, January 2019)

Fried Foods Linked to Early Death

Regularly eating fried foods, particularly chicken and fish, may lead to a higher risk of death from any cause and heart-related death among older women, researchers say. Data from nearly 107,000 women aged 50-79 found that even with lifestyle, overall diet quality, education, and income levels taken into account, regularly eating fried foods increased risk of death by 8 to 13% compared to those who did not.

(The BMJ, January 2019)

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