The argument and discussion surrounding the consumption of red meat and its place in our diet plan becomes more difficult to understand by the day. From causing cancer and heart disease to building DNA and providing valuable iron and zinc, the pro’s and cons are many, but one thing is clear. Red meat is a valuable food source that can be incorporated into any weight loss plan.
Many studies have been undertaken that explain the dangers of red meat consumption and just as many that show the complete reverse. Here are 10 things that we should know about red meat and its properties as a food category.
1. High in protein
Few sources of protein provide the same concentration of benefit as red meat. For instance, there is about 21g of protein in a 100g portion of beef depending on the type of cut. Obviously, fattier meats contain less protein. Generally, look for loin cuts which have less fat.
2. Can cause cancer
Cases of bowel cancer have been shown to increase as the amount of red meat eaten in any given week increases. There are also cancer causing chemicals that are produced when beef is cooked over an open flame. Meat that is well-done contains more of these substances than say medium-rare cooked meat.
3. It is a great source of iron
Generally, teenage girls and women suffer from iron deficiencies and red meat maintains a healthy level of iron and zinc in the body to avoid health issues with anaemia and the like
4. When not cooked properly, can cause sickness
This is pretty much common-sense but needs to be mentioned anyway. Meat that is not cooked to a minimum of 145 degrees has the ability to cause sickness from food borne bacteria.
5. Pork is considered a red meat
Sometimes pork is referred to as “the other white meat” for advertising purposes but strictly speaking, it is a red meat due to having a higher concentration of myoglobin than either chicken or fish.
6. Red meat does increase LDL cholesterol
For people who are struggling with high blood cholesterol, particularly “bad” cholesterol such a the LDL variety, red meat has to be rationed or possibly eliminated altogether as it is an enabler for those problems
7. Chicken and fish are “better” sources of protein
For me personally, I choose to eat more chicken and fish than red meat, unless I choose to eat out for dinner at night. They are leaner, lower in saturated fats, and less damaging as a cholesterol source. They also offer a high protein value.
8. Our ancient ancestors did not eat more red meat
Initial studies have shown that possibly our ancient ancestors ate less red meat rather than more as they found the consumption of vegetables, and fish to be less dangerous to hunt for. They were also more sensible than their modern day relatives.
9. Grass-fed meat is less toxic than grain-fed
Grass fed beef has a higher beta-carotene content, is higher in Vitamin B and E, and carries less saturated fats.
10. Eliminate processed red meat ALTOGETHER
Meat sources such as ground beef, and meat that is pre-cooked in packages should be eliminated from any diet, weight loss orientated or not. The additives that are contained in these products are damaging and unhealthy. Particularly, ground beef contains a high level of saturated fats.
Red meat will continue to generate hours and hours of emotive debate about its benefits and detriment, but the bottom line is that if we discontinue the Whopper with Cheese visits, and restrict our consumption to the 6 ounce maximum daily intake, red meat can be a healthy component of any daily meal regimen without causing unnecessary health risks.