Red meat, which is meat obtained from mammals, is fairly common to eat.
Beef, lamb, pork… these are all examples of popular red meat options, as opposed to ‘white meat,’ which is meat that comes from poultry, like chicken and turkey.
But is red meat actually good for you?
There are a lot of opinions about this, and different viewpoints fly all around the internet.
So today, we’re going to take a deep, objective look.
Is red meat actually healthy for you, or not?
Let’s dive in.
The Basics: The Controversy Surrounding Red Meat
Red meat has been a staple of the human diet for literally thousands of years.
But still, people criticize red meat for being unhealthy to eat.
Here are the reasons why.
First off, red meat isn’t what it used to be.
There are a lot of differences between primitive, organic, grass-fed red meat grown in nature, and modern red meat that’s grown on farms, fed grain, and given courses of hormones, drugs, and antibiotics.
There’s also a big difference between processed red meat, and organic grass-fed red meat.
In other words, red meat, in and of itself, is actually very nutritious. In fact, in theory, it’s one of the healthiest foods that you can eat.
It contains loads of antioxidants, vitamins, and all kinds of other nutrients that contribute to better overall health and wellbeing.
But there’s also a darker side to the conversation.
There have been some studies that have shown an association between red meat, and an increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and death.
But it’s also true that these risks have been observed to exist with processed red meat, not unprocessed red meat.
There’s evidence to suggest that processed meat is the true culprit here, not necessarily unprocessed red meat.
What’s the difference?
Unprocessed Meat Vs. Processed Meat
Processed meats, such as sausage, bacon, bologna, etc. are meats derived from conventionally raised animals, that then go through a variety of processing methods before reaching consumers.
There is some evidence to show that these types of meats are actually more dangerous to your health.
Unprocessed red meats like lamb chops, pork chops, and steak, on the other hand, are meats that come directly from the animals. These cuts of meat aren’t treated or processed. And so, they’re consumed in a more ‘pure’ form.
Cooking Red Meat Correctly May Make All The Difference
So, what can you do to enjoy the benefits of red meat, without putting yourself at more risk than necessary?
Well, eating unprocessed red meat, and staying away from processed meat, is the first step.
But there’s also evidence to point toward the fact that, if you don’t overcook your meat, you can really cut down on potential health risks.
When meat is cooked at high temperatures, it can cause harmful compounds to form.
For this reason, it’s important not to overcook meat, or to char it, burn it, etc.
It’s also important to thoroughly cook red meat (especially pork), to make sure that it’s safe to eat.
At the end of the day, using gentler cooking methods, making sure not to overcook red meat while also cooking it enough, and avoiding processed meat seem to be the best ways to enjoy the delicious (and nutritious) benefits of eating red meat while minimizing the drawbacks.
As it turns out, it simply may not be as bad for you as the naysayers would lead you to believe.