Red meat consumption increases levels for a chemical related to increased heart disease risk, according to research published in the European Heart Journal. Researchers compared trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) levels in 113 participants who were either on a diet rich in red or white meat or nonmeat sources of protein. Red meat consumption increased TMAO levels in participants’ blood and urine and decreased the ability to excrete the chemical when compared to a diet that excluded red meat. Increased TMAO levels are linked to atherosclerosis, chronic kidney disease, and heart failure, and, according to the authors, may be one of the reasons for the “relatively consistent association” between red meat consumption and heart attack, stroke, mortality, and cardiovascular disease development.
Wang Z, Bergeron N, Levison BS, et al. Impact of chronic dietary red meat, white meat, or non-meat protein on trimethylamine N-oxide metabolism and renal excretion in healthy men and women. Eur Heart J. Published online December 10, 2018.