How to eat red meat without jeopardizing your health, according to a heart surgeon
Red meatincludes pork, lamb, beef, and veal, as well as processed meats like salami and bacon.
- Red meat is bad for you because it increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
- But lean, grass-fed cuts of red meat are okay for your
healthand can boost iron and B12 intake.
As of 2019, the average American is estimated to consume five servings of red or processed meat a week, making it a staple in most people's diets.
But, experts warn that eating too much red meat can be bad for your health.
Here are the health risks and benefits of eating red meat - and whether it's good or bad for you.
What is red meat?
The key difference between red meats and white meat like chicken and turkey is how much myoglobin is present. Myoglobin is an iron-rich protein that carries and stores oxygen in muscle cells.
Examples of red meat include:
Some processed meats are also considered red meat. Meats that are preserved by smoking, curing, salting, or adding chemical preservatives are labeled as processed.
Examples of processed red meat include:
- Beef sausage
- Hot dogs
Is red meat bad for you?
Modern research has linked red meat consumption to serious health problems including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Red meat is associated with heart disease
Red meat has higher levels of saturated fat than white meat. Consuming high amounts of saturated fat is linked to heart disease - the leading cause of death in the US.
A small 2019 study funded by the National Institutes of Health noted that red meat contains TMAO, a chemical linked to heart disease. The study found that eating red meat daily tripled levels of TMAO in participants' bloodstream compared to those who ate just white meat or non-meat sources of protein.
In addition, a 26-year study published in 2010 examined the diets of over 80,000 healthy women. It found that higher intakes of red meat were significantly associated with an elevated risk of coronary heart disease. Conversely, higher intakes of poultry, fish, and nuts were associated with a significantly lower risk.
Red meat may be linked to cancer development
Red meat may also contribute to cancer. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer - an agency under the World Health Organization - classified red meat as "probably" carcinogenic, or cancer-causing.
For example, a 2007 study of approximately 500,000 people between the ages of 50 and 71 found that both red and processed meat intake was positively associated with colorectal and lung cancers. Red meat intake was also associated with an elevated risk of esophagus and liver cancer.
Gundry says that when humans eat red meat, their immune systems attack the Neu5GC molecule, causing chronic inflammation. Research indicates that chronic inflammation is closely tied to cancer development.
Red meat increases type 2 diabetes risk
Studies have found that eating large amounts of red meat also increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
A 2011 analysis tracked the diets of almost 450,000 people over 20 years. It found consumption of both unprocessed and processed red meat was positively associated with type 2 diabetes.
The researchers estimated that substituting one serving of nuts, low-fat dairy, or whole grains for a serving of red meat each day lowered the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 16% to 24%.
Is red meat good for you?
Red meat isn't all bad. Depending on the cut, it can have high amounts of protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants - which are all important for your health.
Red meat is high in protein
Protein is an essential nutrient that powers chemical reactions throughout the body and is the building block of hair, nails, and muscles.
Red meat is a great source of B12
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient required for red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis.
A 3 oz serving of ground, raw beef has about 76% (1.8mcg) of the daily recommended intake of B12, while a 3 oz serving of ground, raw lamb has over 83% (2 mcg).
Red meat is rich in iron
A standard serving of raw, ground beef has almost 1.7mg of iron whereas an equal serving of lamb has about 1.3mg.
How to eat red meat in safer, healthier ways
While consuming large amounts of red meat may cause cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, that doesn't mean you cannot eat it in moderation.
Here are some tips for consuming red meat so that it doesn't harm your health.
- Opt for grass-fed beef. Grass-fed beef is higher in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, while beef raised on farm feed is higher in omega-6 fatty acids, which can cause inflammation, says Gundry.
- Eat leaner cuts. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends choosing lean cuts of meat and sticking to no more than 3 ounces per day - about the size of a deck of cards. Lean cuts usually have the terms "round," "loin" or "sirloin" on the package.
- Be mindful of cooking methods. Baking, broiling, stewing, and roasting red meat are healthier options than frying, charring, or grilling.
- Avoid processed varieties. In a 2010 study, researchers found that eating the equivalent of one hot dog or a couple of slices of bacon or processed deli meats, was associated with a 42% higher risk of heart disease and a 19% higher risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those who ate unprocessed meat.
Daily consumption of red meat is bad for your health, as it increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
However, that doesn't mean you have to cut red meat out of your
- Mayhem Studios announces a new battle royale game with locations, gangs and other elements depicting India
- Technique used to track ants’ movement might soon help scientists in measuring snow depth from space
- Three senior Twitter employees quit amid ongoing Musk-Agrawal internet war
- Indian CEOs could get the best salary hike in 5 years; and they already make ₹7 crore/yr on an average
- Vedantu follows Unacademy’s footsteps — fires over 600 people in May