My husband and I love to grill steaks and burgers. We try to keep it healthy by buying the leanest cuts of meat, but recently a friend insisted that red meat—no matter how lean—has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Should I be worried?

There’s been some backlash against red meat because of a sensationalized study in the journal Nature Medicine, which found that a compound in beef can trigger changes in the gut bacteria that promotes the formation of atherosclerosis. That said, I don’t think you have anything to be concerned about since you’re primarily eating lean steak and hamburger. A recent Harvard University analysis of more than 20 studies on red meat showed no association between the consumption of unprocessed beef and an increased risk of heart problems.

One word of caution: Since processed meats (like bacon, sausage and deli meat) have been linked to higher rates of heart disease and diabetes, likely due to their sodium and nitrate content, I’d suggest limiting your intake of these meats to once or twice per week to ensure optimal health.

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