Here’s one more reason to cut down on the amount of red meat you eat.

Using an animal model, researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have found that dietary iron intake, equivalent to heavy red meat consumption, suppresses leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite.

Iron is the one mineral that humans can’t excrete, so the more iron that is consumed the greater the likelihood that leptin levels will drop, resulting in increased appetite and the potential to overeat.

The study was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

“We showed that the amount of food intake increased in animals that had high levels of dietary iron,” said Don McClain, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center on Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism at Wake Forest Baptist and senior author of the study. “In people, high iron, even in the high-normal range, has been implicated as a contributing factor to many diseases, including diabetes, fatty liver disease and Alzheimer’s, so this is yet another reason not to eat so much red meat because the iron in red meat is more readily absorbed than iron from plants.”

In this study, male mice were fed high (2000 mg/kg) and low-normal (35 mg/kg) iron diets for two months, followed by measuring the levels of iron in fat tissue. The researchers observed a 215 percent increase of iron in the mice fed a high iron diet as compared to the mice fed the low normal diet. In addition, leptin levels in blood were 42 percent…

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