The Truth About Red Meat

Joe Downie

Too many people have come to believe that eating red meat is an unhealthy choice.  In fact, beef, pork, and lamb are highly nutritious when properly raised and prepared.  These meats are rich in complete protein, minerals, B vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, and several other nutrients at levels difficult to match in other foods.  They provide the most readily absorbable forms of iron and zinc, and are the only significant source of B12.

The key is choosing high-quality, properly prepared meats that have not been exposed to various chemicals used in factory farms.

Factory Farms 

Conventional meat is raised in overcrowded feedlots known as factory farms.  Along with the ethical concerns these facilities raise, there are various health concerns.  These animals are exposed to several chemicals that are harmful when eaten as meat or dairy.  Growth hormones are administered to increase and maximize the growth of the animal.  Antibiotics are routinely administered to prevent disease, which is prevalent due to overcrowding.  

Rather than eating the natural grass and shrubs, they have been evolved to thrive on, animals are given corn, soy, and grains, which have a much different fatty acid ratio and are high in Omega 6 fatty acids that promote inflammation.  Grass-fed and finished animals have a much lower inflammatory effect and thereby do not lead to chronic degenerative diseases.  They also do not consume the pesticides sprayed on the food of feedlot animals. 

Opt For High-Quality Meat 

For high-quality meat that does not create inflammation and exposure to toxic chemicals, look for grass-fed and finished meats that are either organic, or labeled free of hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides.  These can be found at natural food stores or can be bought online at sites like US Wellness Meats and Joyce Farms.

Saturated Fat

The other reason many think we should avoid red meat is due to its saturated fat content.  Saturated fat is actually an important nutrient that is essential to health.  Energy, brain health, hormone function, heart health, and vitamin absorption are just a few of the roles saturated fat plays in our bodies.

The key is to get the right amount of saturated fat in your diet.  About 10% of your caloric intake should come from saturated fats.  On an average 2,000 calorie-a-day diet, this would amount to about 22gr of saturated fat.  A 4oz serving of steak has only 7gr of saturated fat, about 30% of your daily intake, but provides 32gr of protein and 6mg of iron, as well as many trace minerals and vitamins.

While it’s important to only eat high quality, clean meat in the right amount, when eaten properly it can be one of the most nutrient-dense foods in your diet.


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