Co-author of the paper Meng Wang said of the study: “These findings help answer long-standing questions on mechanisms linking meats to risk of cardiovascular diseases.
“The interactions between red meat, our gut microbiome, and the bioactive metabolites they generate seem to be an important pathway for risk, which creates a new target for possible interventions to reduce heart disease.”
Fellow co-author Dariush Mozaffarian added: “Interestingly, we identified three major pathways that help explain the links between red and processed meat and cardiovascular disease—microbiome-related metabolites like TMAO, blood glucose levels, and general inflammation—and each of these appeared more important than pathways related to blood cholesterol or blood pressure.
“This suggests that, when choosing animal-source foods, it’s less important to focus on differences in total fat, saturated fat, or cholesterol, and more important to better understand the health effects of other components in these foods, like L-carnitine and heme iron.”
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