Gut health has been a hot topic over the past couple of years as it has been revealed that it’s linked to a variety of diseases from chronic fatigue to Parkinson’s and now research has shown that if you want to keep your gut healthy, you should shy away from unprocessed red meats. 

To come to this conclusion, scientists from Harvard Medical School studied the diets of 46,000 men in the United States for over 26 years years.

764 of those studied developed an inflammatory bowel condition known as diverticulitis and researchers found that those who ate red meat more often were 58% more likely to develop the disorder.

In order to ensure that the data was balanced, men who had been previously diagnosed with diverticulitis were not included in the study.

The findings were published in a recent edition of the medical journal Gut. 

Study authors described diverticulitis as:

“Abdominal pain attributed to diverticular disease and one of the following criteria: (1) complicated by perforation, abscess, fistula or obstruction; (2) requiring hospitalization, antibiotics or surgery or (3) pain categorized as severe or acute or abdominal pain presenting with fever, requiring medication or evaluated using abdominal CT.”

Those involved in the study say that this new research is in line with previous findings that show poultry and fish do not increase one’s risk of diverticulitis whereas red meat has shown to do so.

Researchers also found that the link to the condition was strongest between unprocessed red meat as opposed to processed red meat.

They believe this is because processed red meat is cooked at higher temperatures, which allows for the “bad” bacteria to be eliminated while it is being cooked.

It was also found that those who are more apt to suffer from diverticulitis are more often smokers and exercise less than their counterparts.

Currently, there is a cohort study also taking place to even further examine the effects of red meat.

Because of this, researchers were allowed to focus their findings completely on diverticulitis instead of also reviewing how red meat may contribute to other conditions.

The scientists who conducted the research are at present unsure how red meat contributes to higher instances of diverticulitis.

They theorize that it may affect the bacteria in the gut which then creates issues with the immune system which, in turn, creates inflammation in the bowels.


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