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J Nutr. 2009 Feb;139(2):335-9. doi: 10.3945/jn.108.096297. Epub 2008 Dec 11.

Red meat intake is associated with metabolic syndrome and the plasma C-reactive protein concentration in women.

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  • 1Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.


Although red meat consumption has been related to the prevalence of diabetes, few data are available showing the relation among red meat intake, inflammation, and metabolic syndrome. We aimed to identify the association between red meat intake, metabolic syndrome, and circulating concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP) as a surrogate measure of inflammation. In a cross-sectional study of 482 Tehrani female teachers aged 40-60 y, we used a FFQ to assess red meat intake. Anthropometric measures, blood pressure, fasting plasma glucose, lipid profiles, and plasma CRP concentrations were evaluated according to standard methods. Metabolic syndrome was defined as recommended by National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines. Red meat intake (mean +/- SEM) was 45.9 +/- 3.0 g/d. After statistically controlling for potential confounders, geometric mean plasma CRP concentrations across increasing quintile categories of red meat intake were 1.46, 1.66, 1.73, 1.89 +/- 1.89, and 2.03 mg/L (P-trend < 0.01). In the crude model, individuals in the top quintile of red meat intake had greater odds of having metabolic syndrome compared with those in the bottom quintile [odds ratio (OR): 2.33; 95% CI: 1.24, 4.38, P-trend < 0.01]. This association remained significant even after adjustment for potential confounders (OR, 2.15; CI, 1.18, 4.01; P-trend <0.01). Adjustment for CRP did not affect this association (OR, 2.06; CI, 1.16, 3.98; P-trend <0.01). In conclusion, increased red meat consumption is cross-sectionally associated with greater risk of metabolic syndrome and inflammation. Further prospective investigations will be needed to confirm this finding.

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