The Strong Heart Study: adding biological plausibility to the red meat–cardiovascular disease association

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Meat is not an indispensable food to man, but because it is nutritious and flavorful, it is an important dietary component in developed countries. Meats, whether red (e.g. beef, veal, pork, and lamb) or white (poultry) can be unprocessed (e.g. fresh or frozen) or processed and preserved for long-term storage, for example, by adding salt or other preservatives or additives [1–4]. Meat contains proteins of high biological value, fats, vitamin B, and minerals such as iron and zinc [1–3]. However, the consumption of processed meat (e.g. bacon, hot dogs, sausages, salami, and processed deli or luncheon meats) has been associated with the global pandemics of chronic diseases. In fact, consumption of red meat has increased worldwide in recent decades. An analysis of the Global Burden of Diseases study showed that the aggregation of the main specific components of diet (including red meat) accounted for nearly one-tenth of disability-adjusted life-years in 2013 [5].

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