- by Dr Sheetal Chhabria
- 1 Shares
- Sep 27 2017
RED MEAT: GOOD OR BAD FOR HEALTH?
Red meat is explained as any meat that comes from mammalian muscle. This includes beef, lamb, pork, goat, veal, and mutton. It is one of the most contentious foods in the history of nutrition. It contains many vitamins and minerals that are essential for a healthful, balanced diet.
The WHO concluded that processed meats - defined as “meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation” - is “carcinogenic to humans,” meaning that there is sufficient evidence that processed meat intake increases cancer risk.
According to the National Cancer Institute - a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) - cooking meats at high temperatures can lead to the production of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are chemicals that have been shown to increase cancer risk in animal models.
It has been found that gut bacteria digest a compound in red meat called L-carnitine, converting it into a compound called trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO). TMAO led to the development of atherosclerosis, and this is a condition characterized by the build-up of fatty substances in arteries, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Do not eat more than 18 ounces of cooked red meats each week to reduce cancer risk and avoid processed meats completely. Red meat provides quality protein, curbs hunger and supports muscle growth. It contains conjugated linoleic acid, which reduces your belly fat. It helps to keep heart-harming LDL cholesterol in balance, and it enhances neurological development.
It is very important to distinguish between the different types of meat:
Processed Meat: These products are usually from conventionally raised cows, then go through various processing methods.
Conventional Red Meat: These are fairly unprocessed, but the cows are usually factory farmed. Meats that are red when raw are defined as "red" meats. Includes lamb, beef, pork and some others. Many people ask this question, “Is Goat meat red meat?” well, the answer is it is red meat but has less cholesterol, fat, protein than both lamb and beef.
Steak meat is healthy and is full of nutrients that are good for us.
White Meat: Meats that are white when cooked are defined as "white" meats.
Organic and Grass-Feed: This meat comes from animals that have been naturally fed and raised organically, without drugs and hormones.
Here are some tips to make sure your meat doesn’t form harmful compounds:
- Use gentle cooking methods like stewing and steaming instead of grilling and frying.
- Minimize cooking at high heats and never expose your meat to a flame.
- Do not eat charred or smoked food.
- If you marinate your meat in garlic, red wine, lemon juice or olive oil, it can reduce HCAs significantly.
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