Mar 20 2009 by ATAAC
EATING excessive amounts of red meat can make you blind, particularly if you gorge on salami, Victorian research has found.
A study involving 6734 Melbourne people found those who ate red meat more than 10 times a week had a 50 per cent higher risk of suffering early age-related macular degeneration than moderate meat eaters.
For those who eat lots of processed meats, the risk factor is double that for those who eat about four serves of red meat a week, the world-first study by the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital and the Centre for Eye Research Australia has found.
But for those who eat more than 3 1/2 meals of chicken, the chances of suffering from a late form of age-related macular degeneration actually decreases, according to report author Dr Elaine Chong.
"This is the first study that has really looked at meat intake and macular degeneration, so I would not push for a public health warning until further studies to confirm the findings," she said.
"The cause of age-related macular degeneration is not known, so we are postulating that things within smoked meat, which are oxidated, could increase the risk."
Dr Chong said high meat consumption has been associated with increased levels of N-nitroso compounds and heme iron, which release free radicals that can be toxic to the retina.
The condition reduces central vision and affects one in seven people aged over 50.