Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 145–148 | Cite as

Red Meat Intake and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease



Despite a wealth of research on cholesterol and saturated fat and cardiovascular disease (CVD), few studies have examined the association between red meat and CVD. We review the epidemiologic data on the relation between red meat intake and CVD. From observational studies over the past 25 years, we conclude that both unprocessed and processed red meat increase the risk of coronary heart disease and that processed red meat likely confers a greater risk. Data on the relation of red meat with stroke is limited, but also suggests an increased risk. As dietary iron, added sodium, and compounds created during cooking may contribute to these associations, simply choosing lean red meats may not reduce the risk of CVD. Clinicians may consider recommending that patients decrease or eliminate red meat from their diet and replace it with healthier protein sources such as nuts, fish, poultry, or low-fat dairy products.


Diet Nutrition Protein Meat Red meat Cardiovascular disease Stroke Coronary heart disease 



Adam M. Bernstein reports no potential conflict of interest relevant to this article. Walter C. Willett reports no potential conflict of interest relevant to this article.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NutritionHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of EpidemiologyHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.Channing Laboratory, Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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