Why is Red Meat Bad For You?
Though meat has been consumed since primitive times, it was vastly different then, than what it is today. Animals back then foraged on grass, insects, etc, in fact, on all things natural, unlike today, when they are born and raised unnaturally. and fed antibiotics and hormones, to increase their survival rate and production.
Today this meat is also processed heavily after slaughtering, and various preservatives and chemicals are added to make it more palatable and increase its shelf life.
Therefore, the meat we get today is far inferior in quality, to the unprocessed and natural meat that our ancestors ate.
This, to a great extent, is the reason, meat eaters back then did not suffer from the range of maladies and diseases that many meat eaters today suffer from.
What Is Red Meat?
Those meats which are red or dark in color in their raw state are red meats. The meat of beef, lamb and pork are among those considered red meat.
However, meat of a young pig, ie, a suckling pig, is considered white. The same rule applies to lamb and veal.
Red meat contains more myoglobin than white meat. Myoglobin is the iron and oxygen binding protein found in the muscles of all veterbrates and mammals. It is similar to hemoglobin which is its equivalent found in the blood, especially, the red blood cells.
In humans, myoglobin is only found in the blood after a muscle is injured.
Red Meat Is Bad For You
Red Meat & Diabetes
Red Meat & Cancer
Pink Slime Health Risks
Why Is Red Meat Bad For You?
Though red meat is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants & other nutrients, with the meat of grass fed animals being even more nutritious, the fact is that red meat is:
- High in saturated fat & cholesterol
This raises blood cholesterol levels and high cholesterol levels increase the risk of heart disease.
Added to this is the fact that red meat (in fact, meat) not only makes the blood vessels hard and rigid, thereby reducing their flexibility but also causes clogging of the arteries as per a study published in the Nature Medicine Journal.
The causative culprit is the compound Carnitine, (also added to some enrgy drinks), which is converted to trimethylamine-N-oxide which facilitates cholesterol deposition in arteries which damages the heart. Increased levels of carnitine thus directly increase the risk of heart disease.
- Red meat consumption reduces lifespan
It has been found in a study by the Harvard School of Public Health that red meat consumption increases the risk of a reduced lifespan.
Processed red meats like salami, hot dogs and the like are the worst culprits. It has been found that when meats are charred or barbecued, the toxic nitrosamines are produced. These increase the risk of cancer as well.
- Pork Slime - a risky additive
Pork Slime, also called lean finely textured beef (LFTB), made of beef trimmings, is a meat additive added to ground beef and other processed meat. The process of making pink slimeis fraught with health dangers as it increases the chances of bacteria getting into the food and then into your body.
- Fillets - not safe either
Scrap meat pieces are glued together with transglutaminase, an enzyme that is produced from bacteria by fermentation. When you realize that the more the number of different meat pieces that are needed to make a fillet, it is easy to realize that a greater number of animals contribute to that fillet thus effectively raising the risk of contamination & disease.
Diseases like E.coli, which can cause severe gastrointestinal issues, increase as the number of animals that contribute to the ground beef increases.
- Heme iron - risks
Red meat, and other meat as well, contains heme iron, the form of iron which produces compounds that can damage cells and cause cancer.
A report published by JAMA Internal Medicine concludes that regular red meat or processed meat consumption increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
It was found that those who consumed 3.5 ounces of red meat daily, this translates to having 1 hot dog or 2 bacon slices everyday, increased their risk factor by 19% or 51% respectively.
- High iron risks
Meat is high in iron. Excess iron in brain increases the risk of Alzheimer's, as per a study from UCLA.
The excess iron in brain destroys myelin, the safety coating of nerve fibers, thus upsetting brain communication.
In people with hereditary or family history of cancer, red processed meats increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
The hormones added to read meat raise breast cancer risk as per a study on more than 90000 women indicate. This report was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
It should suffice to say that though saturated fat and cholesterol are but a small part of the dangers associated with red meat consumption, in combination with other factors, like processing, excess iron, sodium nitrates, hormones, antibiotics and others this raises the risk to health of those who either are heavy red meat eaters or consume it on a daily basis.
If at all you cannot avoid eating it you can
- go for the comparatively healthier lean meat cuts
- consume it just a few times a week
- reduce the portion size
- avoid processed meats completely
- avoid high temperature cooking like barbecuing, smoking & grilling.
- combine meat with fresh veggies, whole grains & fruit
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© 2016 Rajan Singh Jolly