Meat Meat Meat!
There are definitely meat lovers out there that will disagree with the claim that “Red Meat” is bad for the heart. At the same time, there is a large population that will void out red meat altogether for the sake of health. So what is the deal with red meat.
1.10 min What makes meat red?
2.22 min Is red meat bad?
6.45 min Processed meats.
12.11 min Cuts of meat
21.04 min Farmed and grass-fed cows
What makes meat red?
Animal meat is made up of muscles that requires oxygen for energy.
Myoglobin, a protein that stores oxygen in the muscles is what gives meat the red pigments. “Heme” is iron-containing compound found in the myoglobin that acts as a carrier of oxygen. Iron when combined with oxygen gives the red color in red meat.
Each type of animals will have types of muscle fibers depending on their activity. Animals that have extended periods of activity such as standing, walking, running will need more oxygen thus more myoglobin.
White meat on the other hand will have muscle fibers more for the purpose of quick bursts of energy.
Beef then has more of the red color followed by pork, chicken, and fish.
What can make red meat bad for health?
Animal meat, especially that expensive marbled cut of steak, will be high in saturated fats and raises LDL cholesterol thus raising the risk of heart disease.
Whether is beef, pork, or chicken wings, eating high amounts for an extended period of time can increase inflammation in the blood vessels and cause atherosclerosis among other heart conditions.
Picking lean cuts of meats and unprocessed meats can reduce the risk of ingesting high amounts of saturated fat.
Another possible risk is the emergence of cancerous compounds when meat is cooked. Meat of any sort when cooked at high temperatures can form these compounds.
Adapting cooking method to make sure that meat is not burned or charred or opting for gentler cooking methods as steaming or stewing can be helpful in reducing the risk.
Nitrates and nitrites found in processed meat have been associated to increased risk of cancers.
These compounds are added in as a preservative and the higher amounts of the compound in meats can be recognised by the degree of red pigment still present once the meat is cooked.
Many studies done on the effects of red meat have not yet clearly distinguish between organic and processed red meat, however the nitrate/nitrite have been studied and believed to cause many cancers.
The heme iron found in red meat also have been found in a study to have an association with mortality by cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Is red meat bad for health?
With so many studies done, there is yet to be any strong enough evidence that red meat is bad.
It will all depend on the balance in your diet and lifestyle. Cutting out a food type altogether but not adjusting other aspects of diet may not decrease any risks.
Picking lean cuts, unprocessed meats and making sure the meats are not cooked in extreme temperatures along with creating a balance between protein and fruits and vegetables could be an easier way out of the whole “Red Meat” debate.