Culprit in Heart Disease Goes Beyond Meat’s Fat

by drsjbecker on April 16, 2013

It was breakfast time and the people participating in a study of red meat and its consequences had hot, sizzling sirloin steaks plopped down in front of them. The researcher himself bought a George Foreman grill and the nurse assisting him did the cooking.

For the sake of science, these six men and women ate every last juicy bite of the 8-ounce steaks. Then they waited to have their blood drawn.

Dr. Stanley Hazen of the Cleveland Clinic, who led the study, and his colleagues had accumulated evidence for a surprising new explanation of why red meat may contribute to heart disease. And they were testing it with this early-morning experiment.

The researchers had come to believe that what damaged hearts was not just the fat on steaks, but a little-studied chemical that is burped out by bacteria in the stomach after people eat red meat. It is quickly converted by the liver into yet another little-studied chemical called TMAO that gets into the blood and increases the risk of heart disease.

The New York Times (nytimes.com) – By Gina Kolata – (Monday, April 08, 2013)

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