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What's Up Magazine

Do You Love Red Meat?

Feb 06, 2013 08:50PM ● By Anonymous

February, by presidential proclamation mind you, is American Heart Month. St. Valentine would be proud…not to mention the American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for this designation is more health care than Hallmark card. It’s a time to discuss heart disease and healthy living.

Let’s kick off that discussion with a recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health which concluded that “red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of total, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality. One daily serving of unprocessed red meat (about the size of a deck of cards) is associated with a 13 percent increased risk of mortality.” In other words those folks are going to die sooner. This caused some understandable concern around What’s Up?, where vegans are scarcer than light morning traffic on I-97.

But there is some good news/advice for our carnivorous colleagues: embrace moderation and eschew processed products. Some of the people studied ate red meat daily. You don’t need a Harvard report to point out the problems with that. Also, those with the worse mortality rates (20 percent increased risk) also ate the most processed red meat (hot dogs, bacon, bologna, salami, etc.). Again, demonstrating that the less something is messed with, the healthier it is.

The study also pointed out the overwhelming results showing that substituting fish, poultry, nuts, and legumes as your go-to proteins, was associated with a lower risk of mortality. We at What’s Up? intend to up the salmon , and save that perfectly prepared, wonderful petite filet for special occasions. But red meat isn’t the only risk factor to our heart health. According to a report last year in the British Medical Journal, breathing in heavy traffic fumes can trigger a heart attack. The risk is raised for approximately six hours after exposure and decreases after that. The fumes appear to hasten an attack rather than cause one. But the report points out that repeated exposure is still bad for your health. (Speaking of I-97.)

Professor Jeremy Pearson of the British Heart Foundation (which co-funded the study) summed up the findings to the BBC in typically drool U.K. fashion: “Unhealthy diets and smoking, etc., are much bigger heart attack risk factors, but car fumes are the cream on the cake that can tip you over.” Indeed.