More and more of my clients, and self defined “fitness-minded” people around the world are withdrawing from eating red meat. So, what’s their beef with Red Meat?
The reasons purported range from avoiding “high” health risks like cancer, diabetes and heart disease to being environmentally conscious.
However, are these or any other reasons valid enough for one to stop eating beef, lamb or pork (all red meats) other than freedom of choice?
Research shows that red meat contains important nutrients, including protein, vitamin B-12 and iron. Protein is necessary for the body to build and maintain strong bones and muscles. Vitamin B-12 and iron are needed for the production of new red blood cells which carry oxygen through the body expelling harmful carbon dioxide from the body. And since vitamin B-12 is mainly found in animal-based foods, vegetarians and vegans MUST take supplements to avoid anemia (iron deficiency). To further that point, Heme iron is only present in meat, poultry and seafood. And that’s the iron that fights anemia. Nonheme iron, which occurs in plants and iron fortified foods, such as cereals and plants milks won’t do the trick. Sorry Andrew Yang! Giving up meat won’t save the climate!
Furthermore, no matter what the critics of a carnivore diet states, the fact remains, not all protein is created equally! Just ask Cam Newton, professional football quarterback who is weaker now that he is a vegan.
There is evidence that shows that eating a lot of red meat can raise a person’s risk of certain cancers, heart disease and other health concerns such as kidney problems. However, processed red meats — including bacon, hot dogs, sausage, bologna, salami, and similar meats — appear to carry the highest risk of health problems. Sorry “Keto-ers”! Get off them and eat leaner cuts of unprocessed red meat. Items like sirloin steaks, eye of round cuts or pork tenderloin are healthier. They do not contain excess salt, far or preservatives.
Results from more than 20 completed dietary studies gathered by the Harvard School of Public Health were analyzed and here’s what they found. Of 1.2 million initially healthy participants, those who went on to develop heart disease, diabetes or stroke totalled 27,000.
More interestingly, researchers determined that the rise in these three diseases were no higher in those who ate red meat eight times a week compared to those who were eating it once a week or less.
Again, however, those who were eating processed meat increased their risk of developing heart disease by 42% and the risk of diabetes by 19% for every serving per day they consumed. So, while nutrient-wise, unprocessed and processed red meat are fairly similar. Processed meat has slightly more fat and calories and less protein and cholesterol per serving than its unprocessed relative. The biggest nutritional differences between them is the salt. There is four times more salt in processed meat. That, researchers say, may partly explain the difference in cardiovascular effects.
All of this doesn’t mean you should indulge your carnivorous appetite without considering the repercussions. However, if you choose to eat red meat on a regular basis, choose unprocessed forms and lean cuts. Oh, and, do yourself another favor, when you eat it…don’t add salt or finish with butter!
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