It turns out, it’s not so much the cholesterol or saturated fat that’s to blame, according to the study, published in Nature Medicine. It’s a compound found in red meat called carnitine that’s linked to clogged arteries. The bacteria in our guts convert carnitine into a harmful chemical called TMAO that can thicken the arteries.
Though recommendations to cut back on red meat may be nothing new, limiting how much red meat you eat can keep your heart healthier. The study also indicated that it’s not just red meat we need to watch out for: Carnitine is a popular dietary supplement commonly found in weight-loss products and energy drinks.
Overall, the findings reinforces advice to switch to a Mediterranean-style diet for better heart health — nixing processed food and red meat for an uptick in fish, fruits and vegetables. Based on this study, that’s probably the way to go.