1 Out of 5 Men Chow Down on 8 Pounds of Red Meat a Week 1 Out of 5 Women, More Than 5 Pounds

ATLANTA, GA, July 2, 2013 – Who doesn’t love a juicy steak or a burger hot off the grill? It’s practically patriotic. But when it comes to aging, too much of the red stuff is a bad thing. What is “too much”? Not very much: In fact, regularly eating more than two servings of red meat a day (that’s the equivalent of only 6 ounces, the size of two decks of cards, or less than a pound a week) can make your RealAge 1 year older for men and 2 years older for women. Even worse, according to a sample of 250,000 people who’ve taken Sharecare’s RealAge Test, 1 out of 5 of our nation’s men are eating a whopping 8 pounds of red meat a week; 1 out of 5 women are eating more than 5 pounds. Where are they eating the most red meat? In these 10 U.S. cities:

  1. New Orleans, LA
  2. St. Louis, MO
  3. Kansas City, MO
  4. Columbus, OH
  5. Detroit, MI
  6. Oklahoma City, OK
  7. Memphis, TN
  8. Indianapolis, IN
  9. Charlotte, NC
  10. Austin, TX

To find out why each city made the cut, check out www.sharecare.com/red-meat.

Says Keith Roach, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Sharecare and co-creator of the RealAge Test, “Red meat is always harmful above a certain threshold.”

What’s the medical community’s beef with red meat? Red meat (defined as anything that walks on four legs, such as beef from cattle and pork from pigs) is packed with saturated fat, which clogs your arteries, raises your LDL cholesterol and increases cancer risk. Also, new research suggests that carnitine, an amino acid released as the natural bacteria in our gut works to digest the meat, triggers the release of TMAO. “That’s what seems to cause increased risk of blockages in the arteries,” says Dr. Roach.

The meat of the problem: grilling. Potential health problems further increase when you throw that slab of pork ribs or hamburger patties on the grill and cook them till they’re charred. “When you grill meat, there’s a chemical reaction that causes cancer-producing chemicals,” says Dr. Roach. “But you can reduce that risk by not grilling on high heat and marinating the meat ahead of time, especially in red wine. Not only is the marinade delicious, it dramatically reduces the carcinogens you would otherwise ingest.”

If you need a red meat fix, Dr. Roach recommends buying grass fed eye round and bottom round cuts, sliced thin. “Those cuts have the least amount of saturated fat,” says Roach. Grass fed beef also has more omega 3 and healthy nutrients, which help prevent and control heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and more. Corn-fed beef, on the other hand, has more omega 6, which, in excess, causes inflammation. The trouble is, 90% of the beef produced and sold in this country is corn fed — making it even more difficult to make the healthier choice.

Even though red meat may seem like it has a relatively small effect on one’s RealAge, little changes can lead to big results. “Good habits tend to reinforce other good habits,” says Dr. Roach. “Maybe cutting down on red meat to once a week can start someone on the path of making other changes. And when you add them all up, it could mean big improvements in your RealAge results.”

About Sharecare

Sharecare is a health and wellness social engagement platform that helps people to live healthier lives by connecting them to personalized resources including high-quality information from national experts, interactive tools and local healthcare providers. The power behind the site is its groundbreaking and popular, scientifically-based health risk assessment, the RealAge® Test, taken by more than 30 million people since its inception in 1998, and a unique, social Q&A format that provides the collective wisdom of America’s top experts—greatly simplifying the search for health information. Created by Jeff Arnold and Dr. Mehmet Oz in partnership with Harpo Productions, Sony Pictures Television and Discovery Communications, Sharecare allows people to ask, learn and act upon questions of health and wellness, creating an active community where knowledge is shared and put into practice—simply said, sharing care. Launched in 2010, Sharecare is based in Atlanta, GA.