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Red Meat May Boost Women's Heart Disease Risk
Date:8/16/2010

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Bernstein's group found that women who ate the highest amount of red meat were at the highest risk for heart disease. However, eating poultry, fish and nuts was associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

In fact, compared to one serving a day of red meat, women who ate one serving a day of other protein-rich foods had a:

  • 30 percent lower risk of heart disease if they ate one serving of nuts.
  • 24 percent lower risk of heart disease if they ate one serving of fish.
  • 19 percent lower risk of heart disease if they ate one serving of poultry.
  • 13 percent lower risk of heart disease if they ate one serving of low-fat dairy.

"You don't need to have hot dogs, hamburgers, bologna or pastrami," Bernstein said in a news release from the journal's publisher.

"Although this study included only women, our overall knowledge of risk factors for heart disease suggests that the findings are likely to apply to men as well," he added.

Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that "a number of prior observational studies have explored the complex relationships between various food types in the diet and the long-term risk of coronary heart disease."

While most studies have shown that fish intake is associated with decreased risk for coronary heart disease, the findings regarding red meat consumption and risk have been mixed. Some have shown no increased risk, others have found the risk is only associated with processed meat, and in others a relationship was seen only with total red meat consumption, he explained.

This new observational study of women found that higher intake of red meat was associated with higher risk of heart disease.

"However, it is important to acknowledge that this is an observational study, rather than a prospective, randomized clinical trial. Whether a shift in protein source in the diet would actually reduce c
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