ADELAIDE, Australia — For most meat eaters, there’s nothing better than a perfectly cooked steak. Unfortunately, a new report says grilling red meat is also cooking up trouble for your heart. A University of South Australia study finds certain cooking methods produce a compound that may increase the risks for heart disease, stroke, and diabetic complications.
“When red meat is seared at high temperatures, such as grilling, roasting or frying, it creates compounds called advanced glycation end products – or AGEs – which when consumed, can accumulate in your body and interfere with normal cell functions,” researcher Dr. Permal Deo says in a university release.
Researchers reveal red and processed meats which undergo high-heat caramelization see a significant rise in AGEs. Eating these meats can increase a person’s daily AGE intake by 25 percent. The study warns this increase can contribute to “vascular and myocardial stiffening, inflammation and oxidative stress – all signs of degenerative disease.”
Red meat & heart disease risk
Researchers look at the impact of two distinct diets, one full of red meat and one high in whole grains, dairy, nuts, and white meat. The diet with white meat also avoids grilling foods, choosing to steam, boil, stew, and poach the proteins instead.
The study finds participants eating a diet with red meat and processed grains have much higher AGE levels in their blood. Although researchers are still working to figure out how exactly AGEs affect your health, they add red meat plays a major role in putting AGEs in your system.
“The message is pretty clear: if we want to reduce heart disease risk, we need to cut back on how much red meat we eat or be more considered about how we cook it,” co-researcher Peter Clifton adds. “If you want to reduce your risk of excess AGEs, then slow cooked meals could be a better option for long-term health.”
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. According to the CDC, heart disease accounts for one out of every four deaths in the United States each year.
The study appears in the journal Nutrients.