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<September 2013>
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colette_heimowitz's Blog
What’s the Beef with Red Meat?

It seems like red meat is always the culprit that goes hand in hand with clogged arteries, stroke, diabetes and heart disease—in other words, a heart attack on a plate. Not too long ago, a group of scientists at Harvard examined this supposed link between red meat and processed meat consumption and the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes in a systematic review and meta-analysis of multiple studies. And they finally set the record straight. (1) 

What they found is that consumption of processed meats is associated with a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but not red meat. Why is that? Processed meats often contain preservatives like nitrates and nitrites, which are a major source of nitrosamines, which may contribute to insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes. 

Then, of course, there’s the misperception that the saturated fats in red meat increase your levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which leads to cardiovascular disease and other ailments. While it’s true that saturated fats may increase LDL cholesterol, when someone’s entire diet is taken into consideration, there is no link between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease. And when you consume saturated fat on an Atkins-type diet, where your body is burning primarily fat for fuel, published research has shown that the level of saturated fat in the blood does not increase. Think of it like this: is the hamburger to blame for your ill health, or the French fries, bun and soda that come with it?

If you are following Atkins, you should be consuming plenty of fresh vegetables (and eventually low-glycemic fruits), with equal opportunity given to poultry, fish, meat and various other protein sources. This emphasis on whole foods (vs. packaged or overly processed foods) is a delicious recipe for good health.

And if you love your deli meats, whenever possible, choose nitrite- and nitrate-free meats or plain, sliced roast beef, turkey, ham and the like.

1) Circulation; Red and Processed Meat Consumption and Risk of Incident Coronary Heart Disease, Stroke, and Diabetes Mellitus.
A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Renata Micha, RD, PhD; Sarah, BA; Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH

Published Monday, September 23, 2013 03:38 PM by colette_heimowitz
Filed Under: Nutrition
abbey.normal said:
Thanks, Collette. Now I know why I am going to spend more a package for nitrite-free bacon and happy to do so!
September 25, 2013 07:35 AM EST
abbey.normal said:
Oops, that should be Colette.
September 25, 2013 07:37 AM EST
Celestialflower said:
I can't eat red meat. It makes my joints hurt. I try to stick with being a vegetarian.. maybe some fish..
October 07, 2013 10:22 AM EST
Moug said:
The Atkins Diet is the only diet I have ever found, and I have tried them all, that works for me. I feel so much better when I eat the Atkins way and have so much more energy. For me it is the easiest diet to follow. I do not have to pay attention to portion sizes; and, even if I did, the Atkins way of eating leaves you feeling full and you just can't eat too much. I can say enough about how fantastic it is.
October 08, 2013 02:44 PM EST
garrettv said:
Thought this might be a good place to suggest Adkins take Carraggenan out of their shakes. I don't mind shaking mine! Love Atkins but not all the extra things in the shakes. Also hope everyone signs the FDA petition to have it banned.
October 12, 2013 12:58 PM EST
ecasagrande said:
Red meat is never the culp[rit but it must not be processed. I encourage red meat that has a higher amount of Omega 3 as I am also concerned that an imbalance of Omega 6 to Omega 3 increase the oxidation of LDL cholesterol which contributes to the problem with heart disease. Deer, wild game that feeds on grasses not grains and beef that is grass fed. Not cholesterol in foods, not saturated fats is not the problem. In fact it is the intake of carbohydrates that raise insulin which in turn increase insulin levels which again increase the oxidation or rusting of cholesterol leading to plague build up. We need LDL cholesterol to nourish our brain.In the elderly the higher your cholesterol the lower the risk of cognitive impairment. Dr Atkins was a cardiologist and his program is what I recommend to my patients with the addition of removing trans fats and Omega 6 oils in processed foods. Gene
November 03, 2013 11:08 AM EST
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