Landmark Skybox

Breeze-Courier | Taylorville, IL
The Weather Network
Advanced Search
search sponsored by


LOGIN | SUBSCRIBE






home : columns : ask the doctors November 18, 2019

10/11/2019 7:47:00 AM
Restrict red meat to an occasional splurge

Dear Doctor: I've always heard that it's the saturated fat in red meat that leads to a heart attack. But now I'm reading that it has something to do with the gut? Does that mean probiotics will make it OK to eat steak, which my wife and I just love?

Dear Reader: You're referring to a study published earlier this year that found a connection between a diet heavy in red meat and a marked increase in a certain compound produced by gut bacteria, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. That byproduct is trimethylamine N-oxide, also referred to as TMAO. In earlier studies, researchers uncovered a link between elevated levels of TMAO in the blood and the development of arterial plaque, which can block blood vessels and lead to heart disease.

The study you've been reading about, which was published in the European Heart Journal last February, analyzed how each of 113 volunteers responded to three different diets. The diets, which the volunteers followed for four weeks, used either red meat, white meat from poultry, or non-meat products such as legumes, nuts and grains as a source of protein. Every aspect of the meals, from portion size to ingredients to preparation methods, was uniform and highly controlled. The volunteers followed the three different diets in random order.

Only the red meat diet resulted in increased levels of TMAO, both in the blood and in the urine. The majority of volunteers following the red meat diet had levels of TMAO that measured two to three times higher than volunteers who were getting their protein from white meat poultry or vegetal sources. In some cases, the levels of TMAO in blood and urine were as much as 10 times higher in the red meat group than in the white meat and vegetal groups.

Researchers also discovered that the red meat diet interfered with the kidneys' ability to excrete TMAO. That kept the circulating levels of the potentially damaging bacterial byproduct high. The good news is that a month after they stopped eating a diet rich in red meat, both blood and urine levels of TMAO had fallen significantly. The researchers speculated that the metabolic pathways suggested by this study might account for why the Mediterranean diet, which is low in red meat, is associated with lower risk of heart attack and heart disease.

Since the study shows that red meat causes the gut bacteria to produce potentially harmful compounds, your idea about taking probiotics as protection won't actually work. However, if it's only as an occasional splurge, it's probably fine for you to have that juicy steak.

Eve Glazier, M.D., MBA, is an internist and associate professor of medicine at UCLA Health. Elizabeth Ko, M.D., is an internist and assistant professor of medicine at UCLA Health. Send your questions to askthedoctors@mednet.ucla.edu, or write: Ask the Doctors, c/o UCLA Health Sciences Media Relations, 10880 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1450, Los Angeles, CA, 90024. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.





Article Comment Submission Form
Please feel free to submit your comments.

If you are looking for the SPEAK OUT submission form, you can find it by clicking here: Speak Out Form


Article comments are not posted immediately to the Web site. Each submission must be approved by the Web site editor, who may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the web site editor reviews and approves it.

NOTE: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number and email address will not be displayed or shared.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   











Trinity Dodge Fixed
Dr Paul The Dentist
NewsWebPagesOpinionPeopleObituariesAg & BusinessSportsContact UsLife
Subscriptions | Username & Password Reminder | Change Password | Life

Breeze-Courier & Printing | 212 S Main St. Taylorville, IL 62568 | (217) 824-2233 |
website@breezecourier.com

© Copyright 2014 Breeze-Courier & Printing. All Rights Reserved.
Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Breeze-Courier & Printing.

Software © 1998-2019 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved