ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why is Red Meat Bad For You?

Updated on October 11, 2017
rajan jolly profile image

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Red Meat

red meat
red meat | Source

About Meat

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.

Grilling Sausages

sausages being barbecued
sausages being barbecued | Source

Red Meat Is Bad For You

Red Meat & Diabetes

Red Meat & Cancer

Homemade Slime 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.

To Conclude

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



© 2016 Rajan Singh Jolly


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Besides the antibiotics and other chemicals given to animals, it is red meat itself that is the cause of a lot of health issues particularly if one eats a lot of it. Appreciate your inputs. Thanks for reading Peggy.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      There is risk in so much of what we consume. Some fish like swordfish and tuna are loaded with mercury and those should be limited to no more than a couple times a week maximum. We do eat less red meat than in the past and try to find those that have never been given antibiotics. That goes for chickens also. At least now more companies are advertising those that have been raised organically and antibiotic free. Good article!

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      To each his own I guess Haider Mama.

    • Haider Mama profile image


      3 years ago from Melbourne

      I think if you eat red meat in limit than that would be fine. There's probably no harm in getting red meat. It is when you start consuming red meat in huge amount.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Pork is white meat so it is fine as long as you skip the fatty portions. Chicken is good & fish the best. Indulging once in a while is a treat one needs. Thanks for stopping by & sharing your thoughts. I regret the delay in replying.

    • Kaili Bisson profile image

      Kaili Bisson 

      3 years ago from Canada

      Eating white meat sparingly is exactly the way to go rajan. I guess I would have to include pork in that, as long as you know how the animals are raised. I do enjoy pork ribs from time to time and pork tenderloin too. But we only ever do those on the bbq, which means they are confined to the summer months. During winter, it is all fish and chicken. But beef...ugh. I cannot stand the taste.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Audrey, going vegetarian is the best, like you are. Second best would be to eat white meat sparingly. It would save a lot of health issues people face due to eating meat as these are full of hormones & antibiotics that are injected and fed to them. Thanks for visiting.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Phylliis glad you like the article and I find a lot many people veering off red meat because of increased health issues and concerns. Glad you prefer white meat & fish. Thanks for stopping by.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Chitrangada, red meat has so much going against it as far as heath is concerned that it is better to avoid it totally. I agree if someone cannot live without meat then it is better to go for white meat and then too limit its consumption.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      You are so correct Kaili. It's all about money today for very many people and how fast one can make it, the method notwithstanding.Taking a life for one's own pleasure or taste is just not right when one has veggie options.

    • Kaili Bisson profile image

      Kaili Bisson 

      4 years ago from Canada

      Hello rajan,

      Great hub as always. The interesting thing that you may or may not be aware of is that here in North America, pork is marketed as being "the other white meat". They don't distinguish between suckling pigs and older pigs in order to make us believe we are eating "white" meat when we consume pork.

      All animals destined for mass market - and that includes poultry - are pumped full of growth hormones and antibiotics. No wonder we have the rate of illness we do.

      I quit red meat after backpacking in Europe in 1976. Whenever it ends up on my plate by accident these days, all I can taste is blood. Yuk!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      A very well written and well researched hub about red meat!

      We avoid it as much as we can . You have summed up the risk factors very nicely. It is better to take fish or chicken if someone enjoys non vegetarian foods. Everything must be taken in moderate quantity.

      Thanks for the helpful and informative hub!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      This is really very informative hub about red meat and why it should be avoided.

      We do try to avoid red meat as much as possible. Fish and chicken is much more preferable to us.

      Thanks for the reminder through this well researched, helpful and informative hub!

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      4 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Rajan. Thank you for this great, very informative article. I knew red meat was not very healthy for us, but did not know the extent of the reasons why. For the last several years I rarely eat red meats anymore. I prefer chicken, seafood or fish. Thanks again for this hub.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      4 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Being a vegetarian I do not eat meat. The treatment of livestock alone before slautering makes me sick and angry. The valid reasons you've given in this hub should alarm most people causing them to adopt a different nutrition style.

      Excellent hub!

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      An occasional indulgence is okay John. Good to know you eat more of the healthier stuff. Thanks for reading and also leaving a comment.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      A well-researched hub, Rajan. I eat a lot less red meat then I used to, but still enjoy ordering a steak if I go to a restaurant occasionally. These days, we tend to eat more fish and chicken along with fruit and vegetables.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      MsDora myoglobin is present in muscle and is released into bloodstream following an muscle injury/damage. Thanks for reading.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Myoglobin in blood only after injury is news to me, and "Red meat consumption reduces lifespan" shouldn't need much argument. Thanks for the information and warning.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      @Flourish, eating meat or not is a personal choice. My hub was just to bring to the fore the ill effects of red meat. I stopped eating meat long ago, red, white or otherwise and it just does not agree with my system anymore. I'm glad you like the hub. Thanks!

      @Bill, I fully agree with you my friend. This was a reminder with some links thrown in though I'm aware most people know about it. Appreciate your stopping by.

      @manatita bro, you are so very right. To each his own though. Just wanted to give a shoutout. Thank you & God bless.

      @tireless traveller, eating healthy is not only tricky but quite difficult for most of us. Organic is the best option at the moment.

      @teaches, you are doing just right in opting for the best option. It's okay to indulge once in a way. Thanks for visiting.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      We try to keep our consumption of red meat to a minimum, preferring fish and poultry in general. Good information to have on this meat option.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      4 years ago from California

      Eating well is such a tricky business. I have been reading about eating to your blood type. It is my belief that some people should almost never eat red meat and others should eat it regularly. I whole heartedly agree the quality of meat is important. Organic is best

    • manatita44 profile image


      4 years ago from london

      Very interesting article. I feel that many people know this one and it has been highlighted so many times! Great and good of you to bring it to the surface once more in such a lucid and cohesive manner. Om Shanti!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This is a tough sell in the United States. It might be easier to ban guns in this country than to convince Americans to give up their meat. LOL Everything you say is true, but Americans and hamburgers.....I just don't see that anti-meat campaign gaining traction here.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      I used to be an avid consumer of red meat but stopped cold turkey in 1995 because I wanted to give up the meat of one animal and that was the most impactful decision personally for me. On the extremely rare occasion when I am accidentally served red meat (e.g., on a pizza that was not as it was ordered) I can taste it, as it tastes bloody to me. This was an excellent hub highlighting the health impacts of the choice. Bravo!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)