Studies carried out by researchers now provide more evidence that eating red meat can increase the risk of heart disease. The studies revealed that it does not affect consumers of white meat like chicken and fish or vegetarians as red meat leads to the creation of a compound called TMAO in the body that increases risk of heart disease. Surprisingly when people stop eating red meat for a month their body too stops making TMAO which is a blessing as the studies show that this compound can also lead to changes in kidney functions. These findings show that people have to think twice about their choices of meat in the diet as it can have detrimental effect on metabolism.
According to Dr Stanley Hazen a researcher of TMAO on heart disease at Cleveland clinic, the discovery that red meat could actually change kidney functions came as a surprise to them as they witnessed how chronic diets can affect the human body. TMAO stands for trimethylamine N-oxide that is made by bacteria in the body’s gut region as it digests food. Red meat causes these germs to make precursors which the body then metabolizes into TMAO. Bacteria that lead to the production of TMAO after metabolism are choline, lecithin and carnitine which are found in red meat, eggs and dairy products.
In the study published by Dr. Hazen’s team in European Heart Journal, people that were fed red meat-rich diet for month witnessed ten-fold increase in their TMAO levels. But this did not happen when people were fed diet rich in poultry, fish and vegetarian diets or even non-meat saturated fat sources. During a second study of Dr. Hazen’s team they showed how gut bacteria can convert an amino acid called carnitine into TMAO and when they fed carnitine supplements to meat eaters their guts immediately started making TMAO.