The Truth About Red Meat | One of the first things I hear from people when I ask them about their diet is “I don’t eat too much red meat.”
For many Americans, red meat intake is far less concerning than the fact they are eating way too many carbohydrates. In fact, the excess body fat we gain from avoiding red meat and eating more carbs (in those highly touted “whole grains”) can overshadow any detrimental effect that red meat might have.
It’s true that red meat and the associated saturated fat (also found in dairy) can lead to an increase in certain inflammatory markers. It should not be consumed in excess.
The real culprit, however, is processed meats — those preserved by smoking, curing, salting or the addition of chemical preservatives. In a 2010 article in Circulation (The Journal of the American Heart Association), a meta-analysis of 20 studies revealed that processed meats (like bacon, salami, sausages, hot dogs and processed luncheon meats) were associated with:
- a 42% increase in coronary heart disease and
- a 19% increase in the risk of diabetes.
Unprocessed meat from beef (including hamburgers), lamb, pork, and game showed no such association. So here’s the bottom line: Lean red meat once or twice a week is OK. Try to make it organic, free range or grass fed if you can. As always, you can make your meal healthier by tossing in some low glycemic vegetables (like asparagus, broccoli and cauliflower) and keeping your carbs low.