• Diet may strongly influence ischemic heart disease (IHD).
• We performed a literature review evaluating the association between red meat intake and IHD.
• Eleven studies (8 prospective and 3 case–control) were finally selected.
• There is no clear relationship between large intake of red meat and increased IHD.
Several lines of evidence attest that diet may strongly influence the cardiovascular risk. We performed an electronic search in Medline (with PubMed interface), Scopus and ISI Web of Science, to identify epidemiological studies on the association between red meat intake and the overall risk of ischemic heart disease (IHD). Eleven studies (8 prospective and 3 case–control) were finally selected for this systematic literature review.
Although a larger intake of red meat was found to be a significant risk factor for IHD in four studies (2 prospective and 2 case–control), no significant association was found in five other trials (4 prospective and 1 case–control).
We suggest that future diet recommendations for prevention of cardiovascular disease should take into account that the current literature data does not support the existence of a clear relationship between large intake of red meat and increased risk of myocardial ischemia.