The Real Reason You Should Avoid Red Meat

The Real Reason You Should Avoid Red Meat
  • Dr. Taylor Wallace
  • September 9, 2015

Red meat figures amongst the most consumed ingredients of the “unhealthy” Western dietary pattern, alongside refined grains, sugar, and other animal products. It also tends to be associated with negative health outcomes such as an increased risk of colon cancer, heart attack, and diabetes.

The incorporation of higher intakes of fish, poultry, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, improve overall health. Therefore, many food and nutrition scientists incorrectly assume that all components of the Western dietary pattern are equally bad; often advising individuals to avoid red meat, even in the absence of clear scientific evidence.

Many Americans who enjoy beef commonly choose lean cuts and report better adherence to dietary guidance versus those who eliminate red meat consumption. Beef’s contribution to saturated fat intake in the U.S. is often overstated. Even so, beef is not one of the top five contributors to saturated fat intake in the American diet. And we all know how lethal extreme levels of fat intake can become.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture considers that two-thirds of beef cuts sold at retail nowadays are lean. Sirloin steak contains approximately one-third less fat than it contained in the 1960’s. Today, beef consumption contributes only about 5% of the calories consumed in the American diet.

So what’s the real beef with red meat?

The bottom line is that there really isn’t much if you’re eating lean cuts. My advice is to limit all foods high in saturated fat (i.e. a fast-food cheeseburger) and focus on eating lean cuts of red meat. Cutting the external fat off of a steak before you eat will save you a ton of calories! Grilling is a better option for burgers since a large portion of the saturated fat melts off the meat during cooking.

That is not to say that frequently consuming red meat is a healthy practice. Actually, frequent consumption of red meat can affect your cardiovascular health, pork you up, and even lead to diabetes over time. Here are some healthy alternatives to read meat you can use to improve your diet.

I should mention that a recent clinical trial of healthy individuals on the DASH. After adding 153 grams of lean beef to the diet, people started showing great improvements in systolic blood pressure. Compared to a healthy control diet that was lower in protein and higher in carbohydrates, this were great results!

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