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The debate on meat in general and red meat in particular has been raging on for years. Our society is one where you can never fully take what you read or hear about (especially if it’s on TV) at face value.
Of course the cattle producers want you to eat tons of red meat.
The paleo activists (just for the record, I do believe in many fundamentals of that way of eating)… but they’ve been saying eat more meat no matter the color or type.
Then you have the doctor group on one end saying it’s bad for you.
It just goes on and on and back and forth.
On top of all this chatter, red meat consumption has been exploding for so long. Only over the last few years has there been a down tick.
So What’s The New Evidence Against Red Meat?
According to researchers at the Cleveland Clinic, eating red meat disrupts the gut microbes you have and promotes the growth of one type of bacteria that craves more red meat.
This bacteria as it digests the red meat produces a metabolite called trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO). This has been linked in a lot of previous studies to atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries and the precursor to heart disease.
Essentially this new research is saying heart disease and it’s connection to red meat has nothing to do with the saturated fat or the cholesterol, but how the meat messes with your gut microbes.
During their study they compared the diets of red meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans… the prior who did not have this change in their gut microbes.
Here’s The Kicker…
As you eat more red meat, your bacteria makeup starts to change. The presence of carnitine (which is in red meat and some other foods and supplements) harbors the growth of the bacteria that eats is, thus producing more TMAO.
So the more you eat, the more compounded the affect becomes (the higher your risk too).
What Is Carnitine?
According to Wikipedia, it’s a compound that is required for the transport of fatty acids from the cytosol into the mitochondria during the breakdown of fats used for metabolic energy.
That’s pretty important.
However, according to the researchers at the Cleveland Clinic, our bodies already produce all the carnitine it needs. It’s the excess from red meat and other supplements like energy drinks that is causing the imbalance of gut microbes and thus the heart disease issues.
What Do I Think About Red Meat?
I don’t eat very much red meat at all unless it’s a special occasion. The only red meat I really love is either bison steaks or deer meat and I hardly ever get those two.
One of the main reasons I don’t eat red meat is more related to my distrust for how big food companies handle it.
This’s pretty interesting research though.
I think over the coming years we are going to hear a lot more about our gut bacteria and it’s roll in our diet, digestion, and ultimately our bodies health.
My questions to you are:
How Often Do You Eat Red Meat?
Do You Think It’s Bad For Our Bodies Or Is This All Just Random Noise?