Which Types of Meat Are Bad for the Heart? Meta-analysis Answers

Pavankumar Kamat


September 09, 2021


  • According to a meta-analysis, consumption of unprocessed red and processed meat, but not poultry, may be a risk factor for ischaemic heart disease (IHD).

Why this matters

  • Public health recommendations should encourage restricting the intake of unprocessed red and processed meat.

Study design

  • Researchers at the University of Oxford and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust performed a meta-analysis of 13 studies (n=1,437,989), identified after a literature search across electronic databases.

  • Funding: Wellcome Trust under Livestock, Environment and People - LEAP grant and others.

Key results

  • Each 50 g/day intake of unprocessed red meat was associated with a 9% (relative risk [RR], 1.09; 95% CI, 1.06-1.12) increased risk of IHD.

  • Each 50 g/day intake of processed meat was associated with an 18% (RR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.12-1.25) increased risk of IHD.

  • There was no significant association between poultry intake and the risk of IHD (RR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.97-1.07).


  • Variation in outcome definitions in the individual included studies.


Papier K, Knuppel A, Syam N, Jebb SA, Key TJ. Meat consumption and risk of ischemic heart disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2021 Jul 20 [Epub ahead of print]:1-12. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2021.1949575. PMID: 34284672.  View full text

This clinical summary originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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