Is Red Meat Bad for Your Heart?

  • Medical Author:
    Daniel Lee Kulick, MD, FACC, FSCAI

    Dr. Kulick received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Southern California, School of Medicine. He performed his residency in internal medicine at the Harbor-University of California Los Angeles Medical Center and a fellowship in the section of cardiology at the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiology.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Ask the experts

I love steak, but everyone tells me that it's not good for my heart. Is this true? Is all red meat bad for the heart?

Doctor's response

While red meat does have fat which is converted to LDL or "bad" cholesterol, in people who have a genetic predispostion to high cholesterol, total avoidance of red meat does not mean that the body will not make LDL. That is why many people need cholesterol lowering medicines, even with an excellent diet. Having said that, it makes prudent sense to try and avoid foods high in so called "bad fats" - these include saturated fat and trans fats. Protein intake is important, and generally fish and "white meats" are healthier than red meat. Still occasional red meat (such as on special occasions) is OK in moderation, and it's best to choose the leanest cuts available and trim excess fat.

Medically reviewed by Robert Bargar, MD; Board Certification in Public Health & General Preventive Medicine

REFERENCE:

"Healthy diet in adults"
UpToDate.com

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Reviewed on 8/21/2017