Red Meat Consumption Linked to Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that has been linked to a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. Previous studies have found that cigarette smoking and a diet low in vitamin C-rich fruits play roles in the development of rheumatoid arthritis, but a new study points to another nutritional factor.

A study published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism, found that consuming high levels of red meat (defined as two or more ounces every day) more than doubled the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, compared to individuals who ate less than one ounce of red meat each day.

The authors point out that lifestyle factors may only influence the development of RA in people who are already genetically predisposed to the disease.

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Even if you’re not genetically predisposed to developing rheumatoid arthritis, there are many other potential dangers in over-indulging in red meat. It's higher in saturated fat and cholesterol (nutrients that contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol) than other protein sources. Aim for variety when filling your protein requirements, choosing foods like beans, nuts, legumes, fish, and poultry.
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Member Comments

I'm happy with chicken and fish and pork. Report
Thanks Report
interesting Report
I just read and article today that said over 90% of American farmed beef is fed growth hormones, and that those hormones are absorbed into our system. If you can't afford organically fed it might be better to not eat American raised beef. Report
Thank you for the informative article. I don't take much red meat nor regularly. Just small portion once in a while. Report
Great article. I guess I have to start eating red meat a little more. I have arthritis and I hurt all the time. Bursitis in my left hip. Report
Sister in law gave up all meat, not just red meat for one year, and her arthritis got so bad, could hardly move her hands............ she went back to eating meat and can play the piano again. My husband is diabetic, and his blood sugars do so much better when he has some steak 3 times a week, makes a noticable difference, in fact. Doesn't matter if the beef danced in the grass or in the pen, either. Report
It's hard to know what the scientists controlled for without reading the actual article. Correlation does not equal causation. If the meat consumption is the cause of the arthritis, I suspect it's due to the type of high Omega-6 grain fed beef widely available for the past few decades. Any other grain fed meats - including farm raised fish will have those pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids. On the flip side, grass fed beef will be higher in Omega-3 antiinflammatory fats, and I suspect they would not be causal for RA. Then there are all the confounding factors, such as people eating high meat diets often eating low fruit/veggie amounts. All in all, I don't think avoiding red meat is going to be the thing that is likely to prevent a person from developing RA. Report
Thanks for the link Carol!!! I personally don't think today's "meat" with all its hormone. ANTIBIOTICS TO MAKE THE COWS GROW and "other" things are very good for anyone except someone's BOTTOM LINE. As a teenager I used to prefer to eat wild game that my Dad harvested in the fall. Report
Wow, great article! This was news to me; had no idea. Now that I know better I be able to do better. Knowledge is power! Report
I believe it is what in our meat today that is the problem, not the meat itself. I eat it everyday, am on a low carb, paleo eating plan and don't have any joint problems. I try to get organic when I can but if not I try and get good quality. I think chicken has more crap in it now then beef. Report
I don't believe our ancestors ate as much red meat as people might think. I have been around for 7 decades and know that my family and friends eat much more meat today than 50 years ago. I believe it is more of the impurities added to our foods that causes problems. I don't eat much beef because it no longer tastes like beef. Report
Arthritis has been linked, strongly, to Type 1 and Type 2 Hypothyroidism, the latter which does NOT show up in thyroid blood tests.

If you or your family history have chronic pain and/or fatigue, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, depression, weight gain, and many more, I highly recommend the book by Mark Starr, MD: Hypothyroidism Type 2, The Epidemic. He writes like a doctor, very scholarly, in a clinical fashion; when he uses words like "Epidemic" he is specifically referring to the clinical definition of the word, epidemic. Wow I thought it was just another punk / blast / shock marketing title, but no. Report
It is interesting that our ancestors ate lots of red meat and didn't have a problem. Maybe it was because they worked all day. Report
I have rheumatoid arthritis and so this is interesting to me. I'd like to see more articles on other foods that may or may not help me. Report


About The Author

Liza Barnes
Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.