Red hot meat: A recipe for heart disease, stroke and diabetes complications

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Research from the University of South Australia suggests high-heat caramelisation of meat increased a protein compound that may increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and complications in diabetes.

Conducted in partnership with the Gyeongsang National University the study found looked at the consumption of red and processed meat. UniSA researcher Dr Permal Deo says the research provides important dietary insights for people at risk of such degenerative diseases.

"When red meat is seared at high temperatures, such as grilling, roasting or frying, it creates compounds called advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which when consumed, can accumulate in your body and interfere with normal cell functions," Deo says.

"Consumption of high-AGE foods can increase our total daily AGE intake by 25%, with higher levels contributing to vascular and myocardial stiffening, inflammation and oxidative stress – all signs of degenerative disease."

The study tested the impacts of two diets – one high in red meat and processed grains and the other high in whole grains dairy, nuts and legumes, and white meat using steaming, boiling, stewing and poaching cooking methods. It found that the diet high in red meat significantly increased AGE levels in blood suggesting it may contribute to disease progression

Largely preventable, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of death globally. In Australia, it represents one in five of all deaths.

Co-researcher UniSA's Professor Peter Clifton says while there are still questions about how dietary AGEs are linked to chronic disease, this research shows that eating red meat will alter AGE levels.

"The message is pretty clear: if we want to reduce heart disease risk, we need to cut back on how much red meat we eat or be more considered about how we cook it.

"Frying, grilling and searing may be the preferred cooking methods of top chefs, but this might not be the best choice for people looking to cut their risk of disease.

"If you want to reduce your risk of excess AGEs, then slow cooked meals could be a better option for long-term health."

Dietary advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are believed to contribute to pathogenesis of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The objective of this study was to determine if a diet high in red and processed meat and refined grains (HMD) would elevate plasma concentrations of protein-bound AGEs compared with an energy-matched diet high in whole grain, dairy, nuts and legumes (HWD). We conducted a randomized crossover trial with two 4-week weight-stable dietary interventions in 51 participants without type 2 diabetes (15 men and 36 women aged 35.1 ± 15.6 y; body mass index (BMI), 27.7 ± 6.9 kg/m2). Plasma concentrations of protein-bound Nε-(carboxymethyl) lysine (CML), Nε-(1-carboxyethyl) lysine (CEL) and Nδ-(5-hydro-5-methyl-4-imidazolon-2-yl)-ornithine (MG-H1) were measured by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). The HMD significantly increased plasma concentrations (nmol/mL) of CEL (1.367, 0.78 vs. 1.096, 0.65; p < 0.01; n = 48) compared with the HWD. No differences in CML and MG-H1 between HMD and HWD were observed. HMD increased plasma CEL concentrations compared with HWD in individuals without type 2 diabetes.

Yoona Kim, Jennifer B Keogh, Permal Deo, Peter M Clifton


University of South Australia material


Nutrients abstract

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