Finally Getting The Facts About Red Meat

November 13, 2017  |  
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Gettyimages.com/woman eating a burger

Red meat. Even those two little words make your taboo flags start flying. If you’re the friend who orders the burger, people say something. Maybe they say, “Good for you” or “Cheat day, huh?” Perhaps one vegetarian friend asks if you have to eat that in front of her (but she doesn’t seem to have a problem with your other friend eating chicken in front of her). When someone tells you he eats a lot of red meat you worry—or at least, you wonder if you’re supposed to worry. You lie a little to your doctor when he asks you how much red meat you eat, and you’re not exactly sure why. There is so much information flying around out there about red meat. Shouldn’t we get the facts straight before writing it off entirely? Or, going overboard on it? Here are the facts, finally, about red meat.

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Your steak should be pretty small

Your steak or burger should be a lot smaller than you might believe. The recommended serving size (if you want to prevent any health issues) is three to four ounces. That’s about the size of your smartphone and gives you 50 percent of your daily protein needs,

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The type of meat matters

Red meat can actually have a lot of important nutrients for your body, including all the amino acids you need. You can get them from plants, but you need to eat a lot of veggies to reach your daily needs. A small steak can give you more than enough amino acids and other important nutrients. That being said, you need to stick to grass-fed and organic. Any other kind winds up doing your body more harm than good, and making it difficult for you to absorb those important nutrients.

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If eaten in moderation, it doesn’t harm your cholesterol

The truth is that high cholesterol is a metabolic condition. Changing your diet can only improve bad cholesterol by a marginal amount. High cholesterol needs to be addressed through medication in most cases. Even vegetarians can have high cholesterol.

Bigstockphoto.com/Dependent first type Diabetes patient measuring glucose level blood test using ultra mini glucometer and small drop of blood from finger and test strips isolated on a white background

If eaten in moderation, it doesn’t affect diabetes risk

While there have been studies that have linked red meat to a higher risk of diabetes, those studies did not differentiate between processed (like bacon and bologna) and unprocessed (like grass-fed steak) meat. It’s ultimately processed meat that can increase your risk of diabetes, but eating unprocessed meat in moderation doesn’t pose a risk.

 

Gettyimages.com/Ostrich eating

Ostrich is a red meat

I don’t know how much ostrich you’ve been eating these days, but if for some odd reason it’s a lot, you should know that this bird actually produces red meat.

Gettyimages.com/Pork fillet with arugula and radish salad

This is the healthiest red meat

Pork tenderloin is the healthiest red meat. It’s very lean and has just around 122 calories per serving.

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Ironically, this is the least healthy

Even though pig meat came in as the healthiest, ham is the least healthy red meat. It is very high in fat and sodium—even when eaten in moderation.

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More could be better when you’re older

When you’re older, your body starts producing less IGF-1, a hormone that helps our bodies grow but has also been linked to cancer. Adults over 65 might need more meat, though, because they’re so low on IGF-1 that they are frail and subject to disease.

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Have 70 grams a day or less

Studies have found that having 70 or fewer grams of red meat per day will not affect your mortality rate.

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Vegetarians may not fare better

The same study that showed keeping red meat intake at under 70 grams a day didn’t affect mortality rate also found that vegetarians don’t necessarily live longer than moderate meat eaters.

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Weekly is more important than daily

It’s okay to save up all your red meat for the weekend. In other words, if you want to eat a mostly vegetarian diet through the week and have your big juicy steaks on the weekends, that’s fine.

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It may cause an antibiotic resistance

One thing to look out for in red meat is animals fed antibiotics. Research has concluded that antibiotics in our meat can cause antibiotic resistance in our bodies.

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Pork is the worst for antibiotics

Pigs typically receive the most antibiotics. If you can only afford to buy some organic meat, get the organic pork.

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Eat under 500 grams a week to reduce cancer risk

Keeping red meat intake to under 500 grams a week will not increase your chances of cancer.

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Processed meat is the worst

The nitrates used to preserve things like bacon and deli meat can increase risk of stomach cancer.

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