Royalty in Egypt were some of the unhealthiest people to ever walk the earth. I would recommending the exact opposite of their grain-based menu.
[QUOTE=Knifegill;1153437]Royalty in Egypt were some of the unhealthiest people to ever walk the earth. I would recommending the exact opposite of their grain-based menu.[/QUOTE]
I agree. For every Ramses (the Great) who lived well into his 90's, there was a multitude of infected and terribly unhealthy YOUNG mummies that have been examined. Most were carrying river-borne diseases from their Nile-based way of life. But it wasn't the fish to blame (as an analogy to the red meat thesis), but the parasitic organisms ingested at the same time that did the damage. So, it's not the red meat to blame per se, but what bacteria do with it that might be the problem. Still, more info is needed, in any case.
[QUOTE=Paleobird;1153372]Exactly. The confounding variables are all over the place in a study such as this such as obesity, diabetes. This study population is a bunch of SAD posterchildren. And the "control group" were[B] vegans[/B] not just vegetarians. Vegans, IME, tend to be more health conscious and less junk foody than vegetarians. So you have a group of vegans who don't have the particular gut microbe that reacts with the carnetine to form the TMAO. But was this because of not eating meat or because of not eating junk?[/QUOTE]
Vegans tend to be young and on the whole, have more of a reputation for eating some junky foods and processed fake meats. Vegetarians on the whole tend to be older and more health conscious (like the 7th day adventists) than vegans who are mostly doing it for ethical reasons or from the influence of orgs like PETA.
So far, I read that carnitine levels are a good predictor for heart disease in studied groups as risk + it promotes athrosclerosis in rats.
Carnitine is good for you in certain amounts but like many other things is also has a range where it can be counterproductive. But, Meh. I know people will just dismiss this and any other study that calls into question the wisdom of eating unlimited amounts of t-bone steaks.
Dr. Atkins had it right. Carnitine provides energy by assisting fat metabolism. Once again conventional wisdom is calling the solution the problem. Although certainly every coin has two sides and dose/individuality can make the poison.
Looking like the red herring diversion to extract themselves from the saturated fat:cholesterol hypothesis which everyone now knows leaks like a sieve,, the devil will be in the detail, likely they are basing their red meat consumption on SAD consumers who are downing their red meat burger with a big puffy sugar bun and from what I have seen the only reliable marker of future chronic disease is elevated blood glucose levels.
It is a bit confusing why the Vegans do not have the bacteria. Has anybody seen a level of Carnitine intake that creates a happy environment for the bacteria and triggers the creation of TMAO? 100g of Tempeh has about the same Carnitine as pork. Vegans and Vegetarians also often take Carnitine supplements. There is something missing from the story/data.
I can just see the 'cure'-they decide TMAO is the problem before they research the non-obvious factors, then create an expensive antibiotic that wipes it off the face of the earth before they find out we needed that bacteria(and its friends) after all. In the meantime everyone stops eating red meat and develops some new gastrointestinal disease.
Humans are so sick with our technology-based problem solving. Not that I am against technology! Hearing loss because of loud music and machines? Don't correct the machines or turn down the volume at the party: sell the people hearing aids and turn the music up louder so everyone else goes deaf! Salmonella in the chicken? Don't clean the coops; irradiate the meat instead. Water running out throughout the world? Don't encourage reasonable human population numbers! Instead, reuse sewer water, pipe water hundreds of miles, steal or buy it from poor countries and build desalinization plants. Why do we always chose the harder, more expensive, more invasive solution?
Sorry for the rant. It's unhealthy to read the news some days. I just wish these scientists would do the comprehensive, infallible study so everyone can say, red meat is good or red meat is bad. Or just leave me to enjoy my steak in peace.
[QUOTE=Lumifer;1153063]Anyone has links to the full text of the paper? Pop-media renderings of studies are notoriously inaccurate.
Oh, and this: [url=http://www.westonaprice.org/blogs/cmasterjohn/2011/04/13/does-dietary-choline-contribute-to-heart-disease/]Does Dietary Choline Contribute to Heart Disease? | Mother Nature Obeyed - Weston A Price Foundation[/url] would be useful reading.[/QUOTE]
Bumping this: the Masterjohn article is worth your time. Masterjohn actually anticipates the issue with l-carnitine:
[quote]In fact, these authors even fed 46 different foods to humans and looked at the subsequent excretion of trimethylamine and TMAO. Choline-rich foods like liver and eggs did not produce any increase in urinary trimethylamine or TMAO over control levels. In fact, even carnitine-rich meats failed to increase excretion of these compounds. The only foods that increased excretion of TMAO were seafoods, which naturally contain some trimethylamine, giving them their “fishy” smell.[/quote]
The headline could as easily trumpet warnings over consumption of seafood trigering production of TMAO, or how vegans can eat meat with nary a care in the world WRT to coronary health.
Face it: we're outnumbered. The human body is composed of [URL="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/21/science/21gut.html"]~10 trillion cells, while sheltering ~100 trillion microbes[/URL] in their gut flora. [URL="http://nas-sites.org/emergingscience/files/2011/05/microbiome-nl-FINAL-080712.pdf"]There are ~1000 species in our microbiomes, with ~20,000,000 genes, whereas the human genome is composed of ~23,000 genes.[/URL] If you thought mapping the human genome was daunting, think of what a massive undertaking mapping the human microbiome is turning out to be. At this early stage of investigation, identifying [URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterotype"]three enterotypes of gut microbiome[/URL] seems a useful beginning, but I doubt we've done more than scratch the surface.
Our gut flora is affected not only by our diet but really by myriad factors, subtle and sweeping. [URL="http://nas-sites.org/emergingscience/files/2011/05/microbiome-nl-FINAL-080712.pdf"]Environmental contaminants must be considered.[/URL] Our health affects the microbiome and vice versa. I simply do not see how all the possible confounds could have been accounted for. The study sounds suggestive, but is it suggesting an anti-red meat confirmation bias (not supported by the Masterjohn article, e.g.)? Is it condemning choline, or carnitine, per se? Or is it suggesting that the gut microbiome of certain people may produce ([I]may[/I]) TMAO that remains in the bloodstream and facilitates coronary plaques?
The lattermost seems to be the takeaway, but it is also a synergistic mechanism: eat more red meat, allowing the red meat eater gut microbiome to flourish, allowing more efficient conversion of choline and carnitine to TMAO. (Whether it remains in the bloodstream is a separate question.) Here again, we have to ask what the confounds are, as not every red meat eater is the same age, gender, level of physical health, smoker/non-smoker, active/sedentary; we do not know if they all eat the same amount of vegetables, or sugar, or grains; we do not know their exposure to antibiotics, or probiotic foods or supplements; we only know whether they fall into broad categories of gut flora (enterotypes).
Considering that enterotypes are based on three predominant gut bacteria, out of the thousand or so species that line the gut, it hardly seems conclusive to say that all this adds up to a condemnation of eating red meat. Moreover, do we know that there are three and only three enterotypes? Has there been any sort of comprehensive study of gut microbiomes of not only US and EU (and a few African subjects), but a mapping of all cultures? Can such a study even be feasible? Can the notion of the enterotype be considered incomplete without it?
Is the gut microbiome of the Amish, who live a short drive from me, going to be the same as that of fellow red meat eaters who have office jobs, don't get as much sunlight, eat CAFO meats and processed foods, and indulge in unhealthy activities like smoking? Are the [URL="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/magazine/the-island-where-people-forget-to-die.html?hp"]Greeks living in the blue zone of Ikaria [/URL]supporting identical microbiomes to the counterparts who do not routinely reach the age of 90, or even 100?
The question seems immeasurably complex: how do you identify all the lifestyle factors that affect the gut microbiome that affect health? Is reducing CVD/CHD risk really as simple as eliminating red meat?
Intestinal microbiota metabolism of l-carnitine, a nutrient in red meat, promotes atherosclerosis
The article from Nature Medicine:
The article includes 3 flow charts of what the data in the studies were showing across 3 defined subject profiles.
Intestinal microbiota metabolism of choline and phosphatidylcholine produces trimethylamine (TMA), which is further metabolized to a proatherogenic species, trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO). We demonstrate here that metabolism by intestinal microbiota of dietary l-carnitine, a trimethylamine abundant in red meat, also produces TMAO and accelerates atherosclerosis in mice. Omnivorous human subjects produced more TMAO than did vegans or vegetarians following ingestion of l-carnitine through a microbiota-dependent mechanism. The presence of specific bacterial taxa in human feces was associated with both plasma TMAO concentration and dietary status. Plasma l-carnitine levels in subjects undergoing cardiac evaluation (n = 2,595) predicted increased risks for both prevalent cardiovascular disease (CVD) and incident major adverse cardiac events (myocardial infarction, stroke or death), but only among subjects with concurrently high TMAO levels. Chronic dietary l-carnitine supplementation in mice altered cecal microbial composition, markedly enhanced synthesis of TMA and TMAO, and increased atherosclerosis, but this did not occur if intestinal microbiota was concurrently suppressed. In mice with an intact intestinal microbiota, dietary supplementation with TMAO or either carnitine or choline reduced in vivo reverse cholesterol transport. Intestinal microbiota may thus contribute to the well-established link between high levels of red meat consumption and CVD risk.