The American Meat Institute has issued a statement regarding a report from The Cleveland Clinic that carnitine, a compound found in red meat, can lead to hardening of the arteries.
"Cardiovascular disease or CVD is a complex condition that appears to have a variety of factors associated with it, from genetics to lifestyle,” says AMI Foundation Chief Scientist Betsy Booren, Ph.D. “Attempts to link cardiovascular disease to a single compound that is found at safe levels in red meat oversimplifies this complex disease.
“In fact, the study’s authors themselves say red meat is not to blame, but rather argue that excessive supplementation with L-carnitine that is found at safe and healthy levels in red meat may be a concern. It is important to keep in mind that there are many other studies done on L-carnitine that do not show any adverse health effects at a variety of doses. In fact, the National Institutes of Health fact sheet on L-carnitine shows it is safe and essential.
“A look at the full body of research into cardiovascular disease and diet will show that red meat can be enjoyed for its good taste and nutrition as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Federal nutrition data shows that the protein group is the only food group consumed at proper levels and that Americans, on average, consume the recommended amount of meat. This study should not prompt any dietary changes and consumers who enjoy red meat should continue to do so with confidence.”