Many studies have reported harmful effects of red meat or processed meat on chronic diseases including cancer and diabetes, but epidemiological evidence for metabolic syndrome is limited and remains controversial. Therefore, we performed a meta-analysis of observational studies to assess the association between various meat consumption and risk of metabolic syndrome. The PubMed and ISI Web of Science databases were searched through June 2017, and further included unpublished results from Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2012–2015, including 8387 Korean adults. Sixteen studies were suitable for meta-analysis, which included 19,579 cases among 76,111 participants. We used a random-effects model to calculate the pooled relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). The pooled RR for metabolic syndrome of the highest versus lowest category of meat intake was 1.14 (95% CI: 1.05, 1.23) for total meat, 1.33 (95% CI: 1.01, 1.74) for red meat, 1.35 (95% CI: 1.18, 1.54) for processed meat, and 0.86 (95% CI: 0.76, 0.97) for white meat. All of these associations did not differ significantly by study design and adjustment factors. Our findings indicated that total, red, and processed meat intake is positively associated with metabolic syndrome, and white meat intake is inversely associated with metabolic syndrome.
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