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While red meat has been under fire in recent years as one of the worst foodstuffs for our health, experts say that might not be the case at all.

Currently, health guidance in Britain and America advises that we eat no more than 70g of beef, pork or steak per day. That’s about the amount in a Big Mac.

However, a new review of clinical trials, undertaken by a team at Purdue University, has found that those guidelines may be unnecessarily strict.

Researchers found that eating more than the recommended daily amount of red meat actually had no impact on the short-term risk of heart disease factors, including blood pressure and blood cholesterol. In fact, they even found that unprocessed red meat was a good source of nutrients.

Healthy diet

Professor of nutrition science, Wayne Campbell, said that while over the last couple of decades, the recommendation was to eat less red meat, that it was more than possible to incorporate red meat into a healthy diet. Red meat is a source of protein and iron.

Researchers in this latest study pointed out that recommendations to reduce the amount of red meat eaten had come from looking at what people with heart disease ate. However, even though they showed people with cardiovascular disease did eat red meat, they did not show a causal link.

So, to examine the issue further, Professor Campbell and doctoral student Lauren O’Connor with postdoctoral researcher Jung Eun Kim analysed past clinical trials. Their aim was to look at cause and effect.

The research team found that eating more than half a serving per day three times per week did not make cholesterol or blood pressure worse. More analysis is now needed, say the researchers, to make sure advice being offered around red meat is accurate.

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Elizabeth
A journalist from the South West of England, Elizabeth specialises in writing about politics, health and technology.