People who eat two or more servings of red meat a day are much more
likely to develop conditions leading to heart disease and diabetes, U.S.
researchers reported on Tuesday.
Eating two or more
servings of meat a day increases the risk of suffering from a cluster of risk
factors known as metabolic syndrome by 25 percent compared to those who had
only two servings of meat a week, the researchers reported in the journal
The symptoms of
metabolic syndrome include excessive fat around the waist, high cholesterol,
high blood sugar and high blood pressure.
The study also found
that diet soda consumption was linked to these elevated risk factors for heart
disease and diabetes, echoing the findings of a study published in July.
"When we found
that diet soda promoted risk we were surprised," said Dr. Lyn Steffen, an
associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota.
"But then we
thought about other behavior patterns," she added in a telephone
"It may be associated with compensating for
eating higher calorie food. People may say, 'I can eat this cookie because I am
drinking this diet soda.'"
Lots of meat, fried
foods and diet soda add up to heart disease, the researchers said, and the
conclusions add to a swelling body of evidence linking fast food with unhealthy
Steffen's team examined
the diets of 9,514 people in a study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and
Blood Institute. In a departure from related studies, this one went into a
detailed look at precisely what people were eating.
were aged 45 to 64.
Based on a 66-item food
frequency questionnaire, the volunteers were categorized into two groups: those
with a "western-pattern" diet, heavy on processed meat, fried foods,
red meat; and a "prudent-pattern" diet with more fruit and
vegetables, with small amounts of fish and poultry.
After nine years,
nearly 40 percent of those involved developed three or more of the factors
linked to metabolic syndrome, they wrote. This was clear even when smoking and
exercise were factored in.
Source: DALLAS (Reuters) – January 2008