Beef burgers, tenderloin steaks and beef jerky—these mouth-watering delicacies have always been accused of being unhealthy. Unfortunately, a new study backs the notion with scientific evidence as to why red meat is bad.
The term ‘red meat’ comes from meat which is red in color when raw. It includes beef, lamb, mutton and bison meat.
National University of Singapore
The new study was conducted at the National University of Singapore and is backed by 15 years of research. More than 60,000 citizens of Singapore took part in the research. They sample was then divided according to how much red meat they consumed and there were constant follow-ups during the life of the research.
It was found that approximately 1000 participants developed kidney failure by the end of 15 years. The study claims that red meat intake is strongly associated with end stage renal disease (ERSD) and increases the chances of kidney failure when consumed excessively.
Experiencing kidney failure
The participants in the sample who comparatively ate less red meat as compared to the most had a 40% lower chance of experiencing kidney failure. It was also observed that replacing red meat with other protein sources such as eggs and dairy products reduces the risk of kidney disease by 62%. Therefore these other sources of protein are considered safer since they do not damage the kidneys.
However, at the same time red meats have an abundant source of iron, zinc and contain a dynamic range of essential amino acids which are good for the body. This is why Woon-PuayKoh, the study’s senior author, says that it does not mean that people avoid red meat like poison. Instead, they should eat it in moderation and find a substitute for at least one meal a day.
The current guidelines recommend a restriction on consumption of red meats for patients suffering from kidney disease to slow down the progression to end-stage renal disease.
Approximately 500 million people suffer from kidney disease which requires them to go through regular dialysis procedures or kidney transplants.
In recent times, it was thought that red meat leads to excessive urea build up in the body since the kidneys lose their function to expel it in the form of urine. Urea has been known to cause problems such as hermolysis and joint problems. Lauren Graf, a clinical dietitian specializing in pediatric nephrology at Montefiore Medical Center in New York stated her concern about the notion as well. When excessive red meat is consumed, it increases the level of urea in the body so the kidneys have to work more to flush it out. Therefore, over time the kidneys may lose function.
Red meat is also associated to cause other diseases such as heart attack, stroke and coronary artery disease.