Red meat has gotten a lot of bad publicity in the last few years. What is the truth about red meat and your health?
A serving of 3.5 ounces of red meat contains 20 grams of protein and 10 grams of fat. It also contains Vitamin B3, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, Iron, Zinc, and Selenium. It contains the nutrients creatine and carnosine which are important for muscle and brain function.
What about the effect of meat on your heart? There have been observational studies that appeared to show that meat was associated with cardiovascular disease, however a very large study called EPIC which studied about 450,000 people, showed that red meat was not associated with increased risk of heart disease. However it did show that processed meats such as sausage and bacon could worsen cardiovascular health.
What about cancer? There are some observational studies that show that red meat may be associated with colorectal cancer. Other studies have shown it may actually be the method of cooking which increases the risk, such as charring or smoking the meat. Unfortunately, there are no high-quality controlled studies that have been performed to date on this issue.
The bottom line? Eating a moderate amount of red meat provides excellent nutrition and is unlikely to affect heart health or to cause cancer, particularly if you avoid charring or smoking your meat. Processed meats such as bacon and sausage should be eaten in moderation.