Sunday, April 28, 2013

What to do about those red meat chemicals

    New research links a naturally occurring substance found in red meat and egg yolks (choline), to heart disease and heart attack.  The substance is chemically altered when stomach bacteria break it down.  The substance becomes trimethylamine-N-oxide or TMAO.
   Without going into the details of the research, which appears plausible (likely to be true), people with high levels of TMAO in their blood stream are more likely to have heart disease and adverse health outcomes related to it (i.e., heart attack).  This research adds to the conversation about red meat, saturated fat and adverse health.  Maybe it is the choline and the metabolism of it and not saturated fat that causes health problems.
   Does this mean you cannot eat red meat or whole eggs?  NO.  Does it mean that eating red meat causes heart disease?  NO.  But it does show that the more red meat (and eggs I suppose) that a person consumes the greater their risk of heart disease (as found when looking at averages for whole groups of people).  
    The reason I am blogging about it today is because after thestudy was released, drug companies started working on a pill that would change the way choline is digested or that would prevent TMAO from accumulating.  In other words, the drug companies immediately began working on a way to treat a problem that could easily be prevented.  Eat LESS red meat for goodness sakes, pills are not the answer. 

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