Eating large amounts of red meat each week linked to inflammatory bowel condition.
Most men love to toss that juicy steak on the grill on weekends, but new research has found a link between the consumption of large amounts of red meat and a risk of developing a bowel condition known as diverticulitis, according to an article on livescience.com.
Diverticulitis is a condition where the wall of the gut creates a bulge that can form a small sac, called a diverticulum, which can become inflamed and cause problems. It can happen anywhere in the gut, but usually occurs around the large intestine.
Estimates say the cost of treating the condition in the United States is over $2 billion, and the malady results in over 200,000 people being admitted to the hospital each year. In the more severe conditions, surgery may be required to correct the problem.
The new research, led by Yin Cao, a research fellow in nutrition at the Harvard University T. H. Chan School of Public Health, was undertaken to try to find out what causes the condition, and what could put someone at risk of contracting the illness.
The researchers collected data from over 46,000 men who participated in the ongoing Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, in which the men completed questionnaires about their illnesses and their dietary habits. For this research, none of the men in the study group had any bowel issues before the study began. Over a period of 26 years, 764 men developed diverticulitis.
The findings show that those in the study who ate as many as six or more servings of red meat per week were 58 percent more likely to develop diverticulitis than men who ate the least amount of red meat per week, averaging 1.2 servings.
The research also found those who consumed the most red meat were men who also smoked more, took NSAIDs more often, and did not exercise as vigorously as those who consumed less, but the link remained even after allowing for those factors.
The team cautioned the study did not prove that eating lots of red meat actually caused diverticulitis, and offered there are several hypotheses for explaining the link.
The also said the study had limitations, including the fact that the amount of meat consumed was self-reported, and no women were involved, and suggested these other factors needed to be studied as well.
The findings were published in the January 9 edition of the journal Gut.