Is eating red meat a concern?

By | April 10, 2013

Is eating red meat a concern?

So there has been some media attention in the last couple of days questioning is eating red meat a concern?  As I have been writing this month about a wheat, grain and gluten free lifestyle I will share a couple of resources for you here.

What started the discussions regarding red meat is this article in Forbes: Click here to see full article.


Now here is Chris Kesser’s L.Ac.(licensed acupuncturist and practitioner of integrative medicine) take on the info: Full article click here.  So in the last couple of paragraph’s this is how Chris wraps up his response:


I’d like to end with an observation from the discussion section of the TMAO paper. The authors state:

Numerous studies have suggested a decrease in atherosclerotic disease risk in vegan and vegetarian individuals compared to omnivores; reduced levels of dietary cholesterol and saturated fat have been suggested as the mechanism explaining this decreased risk. Notably, a recent 4.8-year randomized dietary study showed a 30% reduction in cardiovascular events in subjects consuming a Mediterranean diet (with specific avoidance of red meat) compared to subjects consuming a control diet.

This might sound like damning evidence against red meat. However, when you look at Table One in Mediterranean Diet trial, you’ll find that the Mediterranean diet allowed more red meat than the control diet (a low-fat diet)! The Mediterranean Diet allowed for “one serving or less of red or processed meat per day“, whereas the low-fat diet only permitted “one serving or less of red or processed meat per week“. (You can see this for yourself. Click here to access the PDF version of the study, then scroll down to Table One.) Clearly this paper does not support the authors’ conclusion that red meat increases the risk of heart disease.

They also claim that vegan and vegetarian diets reduce the risk of atherosclerotic disease compared to omnivorous diets; but the studies they reference fail to adequately control for the “healthy user bias”. The study I mentioned in the beginning of this article compared heart disease risk amongst omnivores and vegetarians that shop at health food stores (which is a big step toward reducing healthy user bias), and did not find a difference in deaths from heart disease, stroke or all causes.

If you read the media reports and full-text of this study, you might have noticed something interesting. The study itself, and even most of the media article about it, quite simply and without much fanfare stated that saturated fat and cholesterol have little to do with the supposed increase in heart disease observed with red meat consumption. Hold the press! Shouldn’t THAT be front-page news?!? Apparently not. Of course, they’re only willing to admit this publicly in the context of an article where they’re proposing yet another mechanism for how red meat will kill you.

Finally, the most remarkable and sad part of this for me is seeing just how deep most people’s fear and distrust of red meat is, even if they’ve been following a Paleo diet for a long time. The day after the TMAO study was published, I woke up to no fewer than 20 emails and the same number of Facebook messages and Tweets from people expressing concern that their choice to eat red meat might be killing them. It really is a testament to the power of brainwashing. Most of us grew up with the idea that red meat is harmful, and it’s perhaps not so easy to leave that behind—even when you think you have.

Chris Masterjohn is working on a detailed analysis of the data from this paper, which should be ready soon. I believe we may be seeing more “red meat is bad because of TMAO” studies in the near future, so as always, when you see a media report on such a study, take it with a heavy grain of salt (which, by the way, doesn’t cause high blood pressure in most people!).

Now here is Charles Poliquin as he responds to a Harvard study on meat back in March of 2012.  Highly informative and he provides 12 reasons why we must be eating red meat that is Wild or Grass Fed rather than processed or store bought meats.


These studies do not in any way take me of the course of eating high quality grass raised, grass finished beef, pork and pastured chicken in moderation.

I will remain wheat, grain and gluten free for my health, fitness and well being.  Are you eating wild or grass fed meats?

Let today be your day!  Talk soon,




4 thoughts on “Is eating red meat a concern?

  1. Renata

    I guess whomever you ask – they will give you a different answer. In my diet (and not only there) I like to learn stuff, read and listen to others, but then I just make my own decision. As I can see, so do you 🙂
    I have no idea if red meat is healthy or not, but I know that if we follow our gut when making decisions about what to it and what to avoid, and we pay attention to our body – we’re golden 🙂

  2. Jodene

    It seems there is always something to try to scare people with and for the them to freak out about! I think ok, fine, someone published an article, so instead of taking it as fact (especially if it’s about our health) I will research it, not listen to the mainstream. We really need to educate ourselves better. Just like one of your commenters mentioned above that one day the media says we should avoid this because it will kill us, then next week its ok. for us to eat. For me, I love, love, love red meat. I just don’t eat it every day.
    Thank you Wendy
    ~ Jodene

  3. Matt Sims

    There is so much good and bad information floating around and too many agendas.
    I am of the opinion red meat is good for you, depending upon how it is prepared.
    And the propaganda behind the cholesterol scare exists to sell statin drugs. A multi-billion dollar industry.
    Eskimos have cholesterol levels in the range of 400 – 500 and don’t have heart disease until they come south and change their diet accordingly.

    1. Wendy Bottrell Post author

      Thanks for connecting Matt! Totally agree! Red meat that is pasture raised is very good for our health. Yes the cholesterol thing is very problematic and more individuals must begin to realize this. We are what our food eats! 🙂


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