Protein-rich, but also high in saturated fat, red meat should be eaten sparingly.
Red Meat: Good or Bad?
Red meat, which includes beef, lamb, veal and pork, is an excellent source of protein in the diet. On the other hand, it is also a major source of unhealthy saturated fat.
The balance of good health recommends that you should eat at least two servings per day from the protein group, which includes red meat.
Many people however, eat a great deal more than this. Some studies show that people who eat large quantities of red meat on a daily basis have a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease than those who eat it less often.
The relationship between red meat and cardiovascular disease is believed to be due to the high saturated fat and cholesterol content of these meats.
There is also evidence to suggest that a high intake of red meat may increase your risk of colon cancer.
Not surprisingly, people who replace red meat with fish and chicken have been found to have lowered their risk of cardiovascular disease and colon cancer.
For these reasons, its a good idea to choose to eat lower fat sources of protein.
Other types of meats
Game, such as venison, wild boar, rabbit and more recently buffalo, has meat that is rich and full of flavour. That’s because these animals get more exercise, their meat is leaner and lower in fat than beef, lamb, and pork, and thus also lower in calories.
Offal – kidneys, liver, tongue,sweetbreads, trotters and so on- are nutritious meats, being a good source of many of the B vitamins as well as vitamins A and D, and the minerals copper, Iron, and Zinc.
As liver can tend to accumulate chemical residues from the animal, we suggest that you only eat the liver of younger animals, such as calves and lambs.
Slivers of tender steak, quickly stir-fried with finely cut red peppers and spring onions, provide a quick and easy, economical, and healthy low-fat meal.
You should try to avoid eating too many preserved and processed meats. Such as bacon, salami, pancetta, sausages, ham and gammon because they often contain a lot of salt as well as being high in saturated fat. many cured meats also contain high levels of preservatives.
What is a serving?
While two or three servings from the protein group each day are recommended, we suggest that red meat should be eaten in moderation and that you choose lean cuts. Servings include:
- 100g (3 1/2oz) Lean minced beef
- 100g (3 1/2oz) Pork loin
- 100g (3 1/2oz) Beef topside
- 100g (3 1/2oz) Fillet steak
- 100g (3 1/2oz) Sirloin steak
- 100g (3 1/2oz) Flank steak
- 100g (3 1/2oz) Venison
Limit consumption of red meats (such as beef, pork and lamb) and avoid processed meats.
To reduce your cancer risk, eat no more than 18 ounces (cooked weight) per week of red meats, like beef, pork and lamb, and avoid processed meat such as ham, bacon, salami, hot dogs and sausages.
Red meat refers to beef, pork and lamb– foods like hamburgers, steak, pork chops and roast lamb. Processed meat refers to meats preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or by the addition of preservatives. Examples include ham, bacon, pastrami, salami, hot dogs and sausages.
The Continuous Update Project reports concluded there was convincing evidence that red meat and processed meats are a cause of colorectal cancer.
The Continuous Update Project reports also found processed meats are also a probable cause of stomach cancer.
The expert panel advises limiting red meat and avoiding processed meat. Studies suggest we can eat up to 18 ounces a week of red meat without significantly raising cancer risk. Research on processed meat shows cancer risk starts to increase with even small portions eaten daily.
When meat is preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or by the addition of preservatives, cancer-causing substances (carcinogens) can form.
These substances can damage cells in the body, leading to the development of cancer. Red meat contains substances that are linked to colon cancer.
For example, heme iron, the compound that gives red meat its color, has been shown to damage the lining of the colon.
Studies also show that people who eat a lot of red meat tend to eat less plant-based foods, so they benefit less from their cancer-protective properties.
5 Reasons To Stop Eating Red Meat
1. Eating meat hardens blood vessels
A compound found in red meat (and even used as an additive in some energy drinks) called carnitine has been found to cause atherosclerosis, the hardening or clogging of the arteries, according to a study published in the journal Nature Medicine.
The research, which included more than 2,500 vegans, vegetarians, and omnivore cardiac patients, suggests that carnitine converts to a heart-damaging compound, trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), via bacteria in the intestine.
Researchers found that increased carnitine levels predicted increased risks for cardiovascular disease.
2. That expensive filet may be “glued” together scraps
Binding together smaller cuts of meat into a larger serving can be done with a “meat glue” called transglutaminase, an enzyme formerly harvested from animal blood. But now produced through fermentation of bacteria.
When added to meat, it forms an invisible bond, making a round filet mignon shape out of smaller pieces. Although it’s on the USDA’s GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) list. The more pieces of stuck-together meat you’re eating, the higher the risk of contamination.
“The question to ask is how many cows are in the ‘glue’ you’re eating,” says Dr. Schmidt.
The more cows, the greater the risk. (Vegetarians, you’re not quite off the hook here: transglutaminase can be used in some meatless products like tofu, yogurt, and cereal, so buy products as close to their natural states as possible.)
3. Livestock production impacts the planet in a huge way
If you drive a fuel-efficient car and use reusable cloth grocery bags to shop, you can further help the planet by cutting out meat as well.
Meat impacts the environment more than any other food we eat, mainly because livestock require much more land, food, water, and energy than plants to raise and transport.
Producing a four-ounce (quarter pound) hamburger, for example, requires 7 pounds of grain and forage, 53 gallons of drinking water and irrigating feed crops. 75 square feet for grazing and growing feed crops, and 1,036 BTUs for feed production and transport—enough to power a microwave for 18 minutes.
4. The animal cruelty factor is sickening
It’s sometimes easy to forget that the steak on your plate was part of a living creature. But the path from livestock to entrée can be fraught with unbelievable animal cruelty.
“From locking animals in tiny cages, to slicing parts of their bodies off without any pain relief, to genetically selecting them to grow so obese and so fast that many become lame, it’s by far the biggest cause of animal suffering in the world.”
Vegetarian protein sources provide nutrition without any such torture.
5. Eating meat ups your risk of type 2 diabetes
According to a report published by JAMA Internal Medicine, eating red or processed meat can, over time, increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
“Specifically, 3.5 ounces of red meat or 1.8 ounces of processed meat (e.g. a hot dog or 2 slices of bacon) daily led to a 19% and 51% increase in diabetes risk, respectively,” says Dan Nadeau, MD, endocrinologist at Mary and Dick Allen Diabetes Center at Hoag Hospital in Irvine, California.
“Diets rich in animal products contribute to the increased risk incidence of obesity as well as type 2 diabetes in the U.S.”
3 Reasons Why You Should Be Eating Red Meat
A 3-oz. serving of red meat supplies about half the protein an average adult needs in a daily diet. The protein you get from red meat contains all the amino acids necessary to build muscle and repair tissue.
Muscle mass is essential because it gives you the ability to be physically active, but it also produces enzymes and hormones that help prevent illness.
Protein has also been linked to weight loss, since it satisfies hunger and keeps your satisfied for hours following your meal.
Another benefit of adding lean red meat to your diet is that it supplies a good dose of zinc. You need zinc from foods because it helps build muscle mass, strengthens your immune system and helps promote a healthy brain.
The average person needs 15 mg of zinc each day. A 3-oz. portion of lean ground beef contains 5.5 mg of zinc, and a serving of sirloin steak supplies 6.2 mg.
Meat Contains Nutrients
High quality, unprocessed meat is high in many nutrients.
A 100 gram portion (3.5 ounces) of raw ground beef contains vitamin B12, B3 (Niacin), B6, iron, zinc, selenium and various other vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin B12 is particularly important because it can not be gotten from commonly consumed plants. Many people who avoid animal foods are deficient in it.
Unprocessed meat is also loaded with healthy fats. But meat from grass-fed animals contains up to 5 times as much omega-3 as meat from grain-fed animals.
But the nutrient composition of meat goes beyond all the macro- and micronutrients that we are all familiar with.
There is also a plethora of lesser-known nutrients in meat, that can not be gotten from plants:
- Creatine forms an energy reserve in the muscles and brain and is found only in animal foods.
- Carnosine functions as an anti-oxidant and provides protection against many degenerative processes. Carnosine is only found in animal foods.
- DHA and EPA are the active forms of omega-3 in the human body and found primarily in animal foods. The body is inefficient at converting ALA (the plant form of omega-3) to the active forms.
There are many other nutrients that are specific to animal foods, just like there are nutrients that are specific to plants.
Don’t completely wipe red meat out of you’re daily diet because it has some great advantages but just eat it in moderation, or change the more saturated fat meats for leaner meats.
I know us at wolvesfitness will be trying new leaner meats.