Although your weight loss and workout routine may call for a diet with red meat because it’s a rich source of belly-flattening protein, new research shows just how mind-blowing the connection is to strokes. The numbers are staggering for both men and women, but the worst for meat-eating males.
According to a study from the University of Wurzburg in Germany, men who consume about 3.3 ounces of red meat each day (that’s a little bigger than the size of your computer mouse) have a 62 percent higher risk of experiencing a life-threatening ischemic stroke than those who consume about 1.7 ounces. An ischemic stroke occurs when the blood vessels that supply the brain with blood become blocked by excess protein, forming a clot and depriving the brain of oxygen and other nutrients. Consuming this protein from red meat increases the chance a person will experience this blockage, whereas protein from poultry, seafood, or vegetable sources like nuts and legumes does not.
To assess the link between protein and stroke risk, lead researcher Dr. Bernard Haring and his colleagues analyzed dietary protein intake data and self-reported food frequency questionnaires of middle-aged Americans who didn’t exhibit common risk factors for strokes like diabetes or heart disease. The study was initiated in the year 1987 and the participants were followed until 2011 to see how many of them suffered strokes. During this 23 year span, 699 strokes were reported among the 11,601 participants.
To see if protein consumption was linked to stroke risk, researchers compared those who consumed the lowest average of protein a day, 1.7 oz, to those who consumed the highest, 3.3 oz, with their incidence of strokes. They found that the risk of strokes was a shocking 41 percent higher for the men and women who consumed highest amount of red meat. For the most common form of stroke, ischemic, that risk was actually 47 percent. Take women out of the equation and the risk was 62 percent higher for men specifically.