Here is yet another reason that may force people to cut down red meat consumption. Researchers have found that the favorite meat of many countries, including the United States, has a link with kidney failure.
The team led by Dr. Woon-Puay Koh of the Duke-NUS Medical School and Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health in National University of Singapore has published a study–which will appear in the upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology–that will show an indisputable tie between red meat consumption and increase risk of kidney failure.
In a press release, the team reveals that more individuals are developing chronic kidney disease (or CKD), and many have progressed to end-stage renal disease (or ESRD) which requires dialysis, or–in worse case–kindey transplant. Meanwhile, current guidelines recommend limiting dietary protein intake thus helping patients manage their CKD, and slow the progression to ESRD. There is, however, a limited evidence that supports the guidelines.
To validate the link, researchers have analyzed the available data from the Singapore Chinese Health Study which covers more than sixty-three thousand Chinese adults in the city-state of Singapore. Researchers say it represents ninety-seven percent of red meat intake consisting of pork.
After their average follow-up of fifteen-point-five years, the team has found that red meat intake was ‘strongly associated’ with increased risk of ESRD. Consumers who eat the highest amount of red meat, or the top 25 percent, had a 40 percent increased risk compared to people who consume the lowest amounts, or the lowest 25 percent. It is worth underlining that they have not found a connection between intakes of poultry, fish, eggs and other protein-rich food with kidney diseases.
“Substituting one serving of red meat with other sources of protein reduced the risk of ESRD by up to 62 percent,” the report added.
Dr. Koh said the main purpose of the research was to seek for better advice for CKD patients. She also added that anyone can still maintain protein intake while taking care of the kidney. She suggests to switch from meat to plant-based resources. Fish and shellfish, and poultry are better alternatives to red meat, she added.
Red meat consumption in the United States
In October of 2015, Fortune published–citing the data provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture–a report revealing the sharp decline of red meat consumption per capita annually in the country. It has shown, says the report, that consumers have been responding to various reports linking the meat with diseases.
As a result, more Americans, at this decade, are buying poultry products and substituting meat with other sources of protein. The graph shows that there was a sharp and steady rise in chicken consumption, though it is worth noting that there was a modest decline in total meat consumption, meaning more people may be buying more vegetables now than ever before.