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Center for a Livable Future


The Relationship Between Meat Intake and Cardiovascular Disease

Thomas Erlinger, Lawrence Appel
CLF White Paper, 2003

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Dietary patterns are a major factor in the development of coronary heart disease (CHD) and other chronic disorders. Much published research examines the role of dietary fat and cholesterol in the development of CHD. Because meat is a major source of dietary fat and cholesterol, investigators have studied the impact of meat consumption on CHD risk. Data regarding meat consumption per se and CHD risk are limited, however, and it is difficult to differentiate the impact of meat consumption from that of cholesterol and fat. Nevertheless, current recommendations by the American Heart Association emphasize greater consumption of fruits and vegetables, and reduced consumption of meats, especially red meats or non-lean meats. These recommendations are based chiefly on findings from studies conducted over the last several decades. In this paper, we review the data on meat consumption and cardiovascular risk, and identify future directions for research.