- Red meat consumption compared with other diets does not have clear negative cardiovascular (CV) effects, but substituting high-quality plants for red meat results in a better lipid profile.
- Substitutions with poor-quality carbohydrates or fish does not lead to the same favorable changes.
Why this matters
- This meta-analysis flattens some of the presumed differentials between red-meat-based diets vs diets substituted with other foods.
- The authors say that their findings foreground high-quality plant foods vs red meat, offering support for related messaging about healthy food choices.
- When a red meat diet was compared with other types of diets, most lipid measures did not vary among them.
- Red meat consumption was tied to lesser reductions in triglycerides.
- High-quality plants instead of red meat were tied to better total cholesterol (P<.001 low-density lipoprotein cholesterol measures.>
- Substituting with fish did not lead to this favorable comparison.
- Substituting with chicken/poultry showed no difference with red meat.
- Substituting with carbohydrates or combined animal protein sources favored red meat for triglyceride decreases.
- Meta-analysis of 36 randomized controlled trials, n=1803, intervention durations of 2-36 weeks.
- Funding: American Diabetes Association.
- Most of the studies were small.
- Low adherence plagues dietary intervention trials.