|Basic InformationLatest News|AAN: Mercury in Seafood May Be Tied to Higher Risk of ALSDon't Skip Veggies in WinterDoes Mercury in Fish Play a Role in ALS?Increase in Foodborne Disease Outbreaks Tied to Imported FoodMost Parents Don't Think They're Meeting Kids' Nutritional NeedsVitamin D Pumps Up MusclesCutting Salt a Health Boost for Kidney PatientsPossible Drawback to Gluten-Free: Toxic MetalsHealth Tip: Give Your Kids Bone-Building FoodHealth Tip: Enjoy BeansHealth Tip: Eat Your AntioxidantsMediterranean Diet Plus Olive Oil a Boost to Heart Health?Health Tip: Eating a Healthy DietWinning the Veggie Wars With KidsHeart-Healthy Tips for Your Grocery ListWhole-Grain Foods May Help You Stay SlimHealth Tip: Have an Unusual BreakfastWhen Counting Calories, Consider the Cream and SugarHealth Tip: For Better Sleep, Watch What You EatSubstitutions for a 'Slimmer Bowl' Football PartyU.S. High School Kids Abandoning Sweetened SodasHealth Tip: Buying Nutritious Food on a BudgetHealth Tip: Make Sure You Get Enough IronToxins in Your Fast-Food Packaging?Timing of Your Meals Might Reduce Heart RisksMediterranean Diet May Help Lower ADHD RiskCould the 'Mediterranean' Diet Help Prevent ADHD?Health Tip: Avoid Added SugarsMost U.S. Children Consume at Least One Sugary Drink a DayKids' Sugary Drink Habits Start EarlyEven One High-Fat Meal Can Harm Your Liver, Study FindsGrilled, Smoked Meats May Up Mortality Risk After Breast CancerFDA, EPA Issue Guidance on Fish ConsumptionHealth Tip: Help Young Athletes Avoid MalnutritionCould Grilled, Smoked Meats Lower Survival After Breast Cancer?FDA Offers Guidance on Fish Intake for Kids, Pregnant WomenIncentives May Spur Poor Families to Buy More Fruits, VeggiesMonkey Study Boosts Theory That Fewer Calories Can Extend LifeHealth Tip: Stick With Your Healthy-Eating ResolutionCaffeine Found to Reduce Age-Related InflammationKids' Use of Artificial Sweeteners Spiked in Recent YearsMost of Canada's Packaged Foods, Drinks Have Added SugarsSushi Lovers, Beware: Tapeworm Now Found in U.S. SalmonDespite Pledges, No Improvement in Chain Restaurant Kids' Menus: StudyHealth Tip: Eat a Protein-Rich BreakfastWant to Leave Dinner Feeling Full? Bring on the BeansGovernment-Backed Salt Reduction Efforts Could Deliver Big Health Pay DayLots of Red Meat May Be Tied to Gut Disorder in MenHealth Tip: Improve Your DietHealth Tip: Get Enough Vitamin CQuestions and AnswersLinks
Lots of Red Meat May Be Tied to Gut Disorder in Men
by By Amy Norton
Updated: Jan 10th 2017
TUESDAY, Jan. 10, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Men who eat a lot of red meat may have a higher risk of a painful inflammatory condition of the colon, a new study suggests.
The disorder, called diverticulitis, causes severe abdominal pain, nausea and constipation. And it can lead to complications such as tears or blockages in the colon.
The new study found that men who ate the most red meat were 58 percent more likely to develop diverticulitis, compared to men who ate the least.
The findings don't prove cause-and-effect, stressed senior researcher Dr. Andrew Chan, a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
On the other hand, he said, there are already reasons to think about cutting down on red meat. Heavy consumption has been tied to higher risks of heart disease and certain cancers, Chan pointed out.
"This study offers one more reason to consider limiting the red meat in your diet," he said.
As people age, it's common for "pouches" to form in the lining of the colon; over half of Americans aged 60 and older have them, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Most people who have these pouches suffer no problems, but around 5 percent develop diverticulitis -- where the pouches become infected or inflamed.
Roughly 200,000 Americans are hospitalized for diverticulitis each year, the NIH says.
The new findings, published online Jan. 9 in the journal Gut, are based on a long-term study of more than 46,000 male health professionals.
Over 26 years, 764 men developed diverticulitis. The risk was highest among men who were in the top 20 percent for red meat intake: They were 58 percent more likely to be diagnosed with the condition, versus men in the bottom 20 percent.
Men in that top group averaged over 12 servings of red meat per week, while those with the lowest consumption averaged slightly more than one weekly serving.
Of course, there could be many differences between men who eat a lot of burgers and other meats, and those who don't, the study authors noted.
So Chan's team accounted for factors such as older age, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and low fiber intake -- all of which have been tied to a higher diverticulitis risk.
Even then, red meat was still linked to a higher risk -- particularly unprocessed meat, such as steaks and burgers.
It's not clear what can be made of that, according to Chan. A potential explanation, he said, is that people typically eat larger portions of unprocessed red meat, compared with processed lunch meats.
A dietitian who wasn't involved in the study said it's "impossible" to draw any conclusions about cause-and-effect.
However, other studies have linked high red meat intake to diseases of the colon, said Lona Sandon. She is an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, in Dallas.
Plus, she said, everyone should be striving for more vegetables, whole grains and a range of different proteins.
"Really, it comes down to having more variety in your protein choices," Sandon said. "Switch out red meat with fish or poultry, or even plant sources such as tofu, beans and legumes."
In this study, there was no link between poultry or fish and the risk of diverticulitis. Based on those figures, Chan's team estimated that if men replaced one daily serving of red meat with poultry or fish, the risk of diverticulitis would dip by 20 percent, on average.
"So there might be a benefit from substituting red meat with fish or poultry," Chan said.
Why would red meat contribute to diverticulitis? That's not clear, Chan said. But he did point to some theories.
For one, the foods people eat can affect the gut's "microbiome" -- the huge collection of bacteria that dwell in the digestive tract. Some researchers suspect that the microbiome plays a role in diverticulitis, Chan said -- though that's unproven for now.
There is also evidence that downing a lot of red meat helps fuel chronic, low-level inflammation in the body, Chan said. That, in turn, might raise the risk of diverticulitis.
Since the study focused on men, future research should look at whether the same patterns hold true for women, according to Chan.
But there's no biological reason to believe the findings would differ by sex, he said. Plus, women already have plenty of reasons to aim for a healthy diet, with limits on red meat, Chan said.
Sandon agreed. "The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a mostly plant-based diet to promote health -- and that includes colon health," she said. "Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables, choose whole grains, and vary your protein choices."
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on diverticulitis.
This article: Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.