"Our study shows that making substitutes for red meat or minimizing the amount of red meat in the diet has important health benefits," said Adam M. Bernstein, M.D., Sc.D., the study's first author from the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
The data also showed that eating more servings of poultry, fish and nuts was significantly associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease. Compared to one serving each day of red meat, women who substituted other protein-rich foods experienced significantly lower risk of coronary heart disease:
- 30 percent lower risk with one serving each day of nuts
- 24 percent lower risk with one serving each day of fish19 percent lower risk with one serving each day of poultry
- 13 percent lower risk with one serving each day of low-fat dairy products
The study differs from others in the field because the analysis has a 26-year follow-up, greater precision in dietary measurements due to a great number of cases and repeated dietary questionnaires. It also differs because of the emphasis on substitution patterns and substitution of other protein-rich foods for red meat. "Although this study included only women, our overall knowledge of risk factors for heart disease suggests that the findings are likely to apply to men as well," Bernstein said. "Those who are concerned and want to reduce their risk of heart disease should consider replacing red meat with other protein-rich foods including fish, poultry, low-fat dairy products and nuts," Bernstein said. Co-authors are Qi Sun, M.D., Sc.D; Frank B. Hu, M.D., Ph.D.; Meir J. Stampfer, M.D., Ph.D.; JoAnn E. Manson, M.D., Ph.D.; and Walter C. Willett, M.D., Ph.D.
Bonnie - the amount of red meat consumed in this study far exceeded suggested servings. I usually recommend no more than two servings weekly from grass-fed beef, which contains heart-healthy omega-3 fats.
Nuts and seeds, although very heart-healthy, need to be counted as fats, not proteins.