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Background: Greater red and processed meat consumption has been linked to adverse cardiovascular outcomes. However, the impact of these exposures on cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) phenotypes has not been adequately studied. Objective: We describe novel associations of meat intake with cardiovascular phenotypes and investigate underlying mechanisms through consideration of a range of covariates. Design: We studied 19,408 UK Biobank participants with CMR data available. Average daily red and processed meat consumption was determined through food frequency questionnaires and expressed as a continuous variable. Oily fish was studied as a comparator, previously associated with favourable cardiac outcomes. We considered associations with conventional CMR indices (ventricular volumes, ejection fraction, stroke volume, left ventricular mass), novel CMR radiomics features (shape, first-order, texture), and arterial compliance measures (arterial stiffness index, aortic distensibility). We used multivariable linear regression to investigate relationships between meat intake and cardiovascular phenotypes, adjusting for confounders (age, sex, deprivation, educational level, smoking, alcohol intake, exercise) and potential covariates on the causal pathway (hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia, diabetes, body mass index). Results: Greater red and processed meat consumption was associated with an unhealthy pattern of biventricular remodelling, worse cardiac function, and poorer arterial compliance. In contrast, greater oily fish consumption was associated with a healthier cardiovascular phenotype and better arterial compliance. There was partial attenuation of associations between red meat and conventional CMR indices with addition of covariates potentially on the causal pathway, indicating a possible mechanistic role for these cardiometabolic morbidities. However, other associations were not altered with inclusion of these covariates, suggesting importance of alternative biological mechanisms underlying these relationships. Radiomics analysis provided deeper phenotyping, demonstrating association of the different dietary habits with distinct ventricular geometry and left ventricular myocardial texture patterns. Conclusions: Greater red and processed meat consumption is associated with impaired cardiovascular health, both in terms of markers of arterial disease and of cardiac structure and function. Cardiometabolic morbidities appeared to have a mechanistic role in the associations of red meat with ventricular phenotypes, but less so for other associations suggesting importance of alternative mechanism for these relationships.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Cardiovasc Med

Publication Date





cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular magnetic resonance, diet, disease prevention, meat, population health, radiomics