Is Red Meat Bad for Your Health?

Posted on February 17th, 2016 at 4:12 am by

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A lot of red flags have been raised about consuming red meat.  At the same time, researchers admit that it is very nutritious. Red meat is probably one of the most controversial foods in the last several years. What is the truth behind all these warnings? Is red meat good or bad for our health? Read on to find out what we think.

1. Today’s meat isn’t what it used to be

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Throughout evolution our ancestors have been consuming meat, and a LOT of it…and we are still here. Our digestive systems are made to handle meat well. Then why all the fuss about it now? Well, because meat is different today compared to 10,000 years ago. Back in the day, animals roamed the fields freely, feeding on grass and insects. Today, cows are mostly factory-farmed, fed artificially-produced feeds, and then filled to the brim with antibiotics and hormones for faster growth. There is even more processing involved after the animals are slaughtered. There is smoking, curing, and treating with various preservatives. You do not need to give up on red meat entirely, as long as you learn to distinguish the organically raised from processed meat.

2. Red meat is nutritious

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Red meat is a great source of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that all have a very positive impact on our health. Beef in particular is packed with vitamins B3, B6, and B12 (which you cannot get from vegetables and fruits). It also contains significant doses of iron, zinc, selenium, creatine, and carnosine, and smaller amounts of other minerals and vitamins. Not eating meat can have a negative effect on your brain and muscle functions, especially if you are a passionate exerciser. The protein from meat is instrumental for muscle building. Red meat is a great nutrient for people who do powerlifting and other sports that are based on muscle strength. Again, grass-fed meat is more nutritious than grain-fed.

3. Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes

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There are numerous studies that suggest that there is a link between red meat and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. However, most of these studies are only observational, meaning that they only observe that there is a correlation between the two, but do not offer an explanation on exactly how they are correlated. Processed meat is associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes and in these cases diagnostic medical supplies may be used for the control of diabetes mellitus.

4. Red meat optimization 101

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If meat really causes cancer, the reason may be lying in the improper cooking. Heterocyclic Amines, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, and Advanced Glycation End-Products are proven harmful substances that form in meat when it is cooked at an excessively high temperature but this also goes for other types of foods. If you want to be sure that your meat is safe for consuming then stew it or steam it rather than fry it. Never expose meat to direct flame, and if you do, cut away any charred pieces. Reduce the cooking time to a minimum and flip it often. Marinating can reduce the levels of these chemicals significantly.

5. Conclusion

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All facts considered, it seems that there is no hard and irrefutable evidence that red meat is the real culprit here. Besides, the effects of meat on one’s health could be pretty individual. Some people find it hard to digest, while others not so. The safest tactic is probably to be moderate and listen to your body’s signals. Always opt for grass-fed and organically raised meat rather than processed meat, and use gentler cooking processes.

About the author

Amy Mia Goldsmith is a biology graduate from Melbourne and a future personal trainer. She has a a degree in nutrition and her goal is to teach people to live a healthy and happy life. You can contact Amy on her Facebook page and Twitter.

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