Risks And Effects Of Red Meat To Health
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Risks And Effects Of Red Meat To Health

– Abundant Life
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Red meat in a pure form is a good source of protein and B vitamins and has been a key part of the human diet.Higher intakes of red meat have been linked with a number of health problems, including type 2 diabetes. Research is showing that food processing is a key factor involved in the increase of risk.

Red meat contributes to your daily protein intake — each 3-ounce serving provides 60 percent of the daily protein recommendations for women and 50 percent for men, . Red meat offers some health benefits due to its nutrient content, making it a healthy addition to your diet when consumed in moderation. Too much red meat, though, negatively affects your health and has been linked to chronic disease.

Red meat is the meat of mammals, which is normally red when raw.It’s one of the most controversial foods in the history of nutrition.Although humans have been eating it throughout evolution, many people believe it can cause harm.

WHAT IS RED MEAT?
Red meat is generally meat derived from farm reared mammals, such as:

Pork, ham and other cuts from pigs
Lamb
Beef
Red meat is a popular food amongst those following a paleo diet, in which food choices are guided by judging which foods would have been available to our ancient ancestors.

Nutritionists and health experts have spent years debating the benefits and risks of eating red meat in an attempt to determine whether it is good or bad for health. So far, results have been mixed.

Researchers say that red meat contains important nutrients, including protein, vitamin B-12, and iron. However, there is evidence to suggest that eating a lot of red meat can raise a person’s risk of certain cancers, heart disease, and other health concerns.

This article looks at what the research says, official dietary recommendations, and what amount of red meat might be healthful.

The focus of this article is on the health impacts of red meat. It does not address the ethical and environmental arguments around the consumption of red meat.

How does red meat affect health?
Person eating steak or red meat.
Eating red meat may increase a person’s risk of developing heart disease or cancer.
Specialists usually classify red meat as muscle meat from beef, pork, lamb, goat, or other land mammals.

On one hand, red meat is a good source of certain nutrients, especially vitamin B-12 and iron. The human body needs these nutrients to produce new red blood cells.

Red meat is also high in protein, which is necessary for building muscle, bone, other tissues, and enzymes.

However, some research has linked regular consumption of red meat to a number of health problems, such as heart disease, some cancers, kidney problems, digestive issues, and mortality.To further complicate the issue, some studies suggest that the type of red meat a person eats makes the most difference.

Leaner cuts of unprocessed red meat, such as sirloin steaks or pork tenderloin, may be more healthful than other types. This is because they are unprocessed and do not contain excess salt, fat, or preservatives.Processed red meats — including bacon, hot dogs, sausage, bologna, salami, and similar meats — appear to carry the highest risk of health problems.

Is red meat nutritious?
Red meat contains nutrients that are beneficial to health, including iron, vitamin B-12, and zinc.

Animal based foods, such as meat and dairy, are the main dietary sources of vitamin B-12. For this reason, people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet may need to take supplemental B-12 in order to prevent B-12 deficiency anemia.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one 3.5-ounce (oz) or 100-gram (g) serving of uncooked ground beef contains:

247 calories
19.07 g of fat
17.44 g of protein
1.97 milligrams (mg) of iron
274 mg of potassium
4.23 mg of zinc
2.15 micrograms of vitamin B-12
Many factors can affect the nutritional value of a specific piece of meat. For example, cuts from different parts of the animal vary in their calorie and fat content. Also, the way the farmer raised the animal, the animal’s diet, and even the animal’s age and sex can affect the nutritional value of the meat.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) list some types of red meat as good sources of heme iron. Heme iron is only present in meat, poultry, and seafood. Nonheme iron occurs in plants and iron fortified foods, such as cereals and plant milks.

The NIH state that heme iron is more bioavailable, which means that the body can use it more easily. Although many people get enough iron from their diets, the NIH say that certain people are at risk of iron deficiency, including:

infants
young children
people with heavy periods
pregnant women
Red Meat Is Very Nutritious
Red meat is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat.

It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and various other nutrients that can have profound effects on health.

A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) portion of raw ground beef (10% fat) contains :

Vitamin B3 (niacin): 25% of the RDA
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin): 37% of the RDA (this vitamin is unattainable from plant foods)
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): 18% of the RDA
Iron: 12% of the RDA (this is high-quality heme iron, which is absorbed much better than iron from plants)
Zinc: 32% of the RDA
Selenium: 24% of the RDA
Plenty of other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts
This comes with a calorie count of 176, with 20 grams of quality animal protein and 10 grams of fat.

Red meat is also rich in important nutrients like creatine and carnosine. Non-meat eaters are often low in these nutrients, which may potentially affect muscle and brain function.

Grass-fed beef is even more nutritious than grain-fed beef, containing plenty of heart-healthy omega-3s, the fatty acid CLA and higher amounts of vitamins A and E .

SUMMARYRed meat is very nutritious, especially if it comes from animals that have been naturally fed and raised. It’s a great source of protein, iron, B12, zinc, creatine and various other nutrients.

Beneficial Effects
Red meat provides essential vitamins and minerals, including B-12 and iron — two nutrients you need for healthy circulation. Both vitamin B-12 and iron help you make red blood cells, the cells that transport oxygen throughout your body. Vitamin B-12 also keeps your nerves healthy and helps your cells regulate gene activity, while iron boosts your immune system and helps you to heal after injury. A 3-ounce serving of beef offers 2.1 micrograms of vitamin B-12, or 88 percent of your recommended daily intake, as well as 2.3 milligrams of iron — 29 percent of the RDA for men or 13 percent for women

Today’s Meat Isn’t What It Used to Be
Is Red Meat Bad for You or Good
People have been eating meat throughout evolution and have digestive systems well equipped to handle it.

Traditional populations like the Masai have eaten much more red meat than the average Westerner but remained in excellent health.

However, the meat consumed today is different than the meat people ate in the past. Back in the day, animals roamed free and ate grass, insects or other foods natural to them.

Picture a wild cow on a field 10,000 years ago, roaming free and chewing on grass and various other edible plants.

The meat from this animal is different than the meat derived from a cow that was born and raised in a factory, fed grain-based feed and given growth-promoting hormones and antibiotics.

Today, some meat products are highly processed after the animals have been slaughtered. They are smoked, cured, then treated with nitrates, preservatives and various chemicals.

Therefore, it is very important to distinguish between different types of meat:

Processed meat: These products are usually from conventionally raised cows, then go through various processing methods. Examples include sausages and bacon.
Conventional red meat: Conventional red meats are fairly unprocessed, but the cows are usually factory farmed. Meats that are red when raw are defined as red meats. This includes lamb, beef, pork and some others.
White meat: Meats that are white when cooked are defined as white meats. This includes meat from poultry like chicken and turkey.
Grass-fed, organic meat: This meat comes from animals that have been naturally fed and raised organically, without drugs and hormones. They also don’t have any artificial chemicals added.
When examining the health effects of meat, it’s important to realize that not all meat is created equal.Many studies on red meat, especially those conducted in the US, primarily examine meat from factory-farmed animals that have been fed grain-based feeds.

SUMMARYIt’s important to make a distinction between different kinds of meat. For example, grass-fed and organic meat is nutritionally different than factory-farmed, processed meat.

RECOMMENDED INTAKE OF RED MEAT
The Department of Health advises people to consume 90g or less of red meat per day. A thin slice of pork, lamb or beef the size of half a slice of bread provides about 30g of meat.

RED MEAT HEALTH BENEFITS
Red meat is a rich source of protein, saturated fat, iro, zinc and B vitamins.

Iron is needed to help red blood cells transport oxygen. Iron deficiencies are more likely to occur in children, elderly people and pregnant women.Iron is also available dark green leafy plants, beans and grains but is best absorbed by the body from red meat.

Zinc is required by the body for DNA synthesis and helps the immune system to function effectively.As well being found in red meat, zinc is also found in fish, grains, eggs and beans.However, zinc is best absorbed from meat and fish sources.

Amongst the B vitamins found abundantly in red meat are vitamin B6 and vitamin12. Vitamin B6 is beneficial for the immune system and vitamin B12 beneficial for the nervous system. People taking the diabetes drug metformin have an increased risk of having lower levels of vitamin B12.

DANGERS OF RED MEAT
Consumption of red meat has been linked with increased incidences of heart disease, colorectal cancer and type 2 diabetes. The extent of the associations have found to be higher for processed red meat.

In 2011, a study by Harvard University made news headlines when it published a study which suggested that eating unprocessed meat was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

The risk of diabetes was 20% higher in those that ate over 110g of unprocessed red meat a day. However, the research attracted some criticism for including hamburgers within the unprocessed foods list. Of those that ate a serving of processed meat, the risk of type 2 diabetes grew 50% higher.

Processed red meat includes meat products that have been cured, pre-cooked, comminuted or had preservatives and binding ingredients added.

Examples of processed meat include:

Hotdogs
Sausages
Burgers
Corned beef
Salami
Jerky
Many hams found in the supermarkets will have been treated with preservatives (such as nitrites) and may also be made from comminuted (ground) meat.

RED MEAT AND FOOD HYGIENE
Raw red meat can carry dangerous bacteria so it is important that red meat is stored, cooked and handled appropriately. Wash your hands after handling raw meat and wash any utensils and crockery that have been used for raw meat.

Red meat should not be reheated more than once to prevent food poisoning from occurring. When cooking red meat, heat it all the way through to ensure bacteria inside the meat is killed.

Heart disease and saturated fat
pinto beans in a bowl
Nuts and beans are healthful plant based sources of protein.
Many different studies have suggested that eating red meat regularly can lead to a higher risk of heart disease. For years, experts have believed that the link between red meat consumption and heart disease is due to the saturated fat that is present in red meat.

The American Heart Association (AHA) claim that red meats generally have more saturated fat than other sources of protein, such as chicken, fish, or legumes.

They suggest that eating high amounts of saturated fat and any amount of trans fat can raise a person’s cholesterol levels and increase their risk of heart disease. They therefore recommend that people limit the amount of red meat they eat and encourage people to choose lean cuts of meat.

That being said, red meat is not the primary source of trans fats in the Western diet. Packaged, processed, and fried foods tend to contain the most.

The AHA also explain that beans and legumes are heart-healthy alternative sources of protein. Examples include:

pinto beans
kidney beans
garbanzo beans, or chickpeas
soybeans
lentils, split peas, and black eyed peas
A meta-analysis in the journal Circulation looked at 36 different studies. It concluded that replacing red meat with high quality plant protein sources — but not low quality carbohydrates — led to “more favorable” concentrations of fat in the blood.

The meta-analysis also found that there were not significant improvements in total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, or blood pressure between the red meat and animal protein diet groups.

Other studies have questioned the notion that saturated fat has links with heart disease. The authors of a review of heart disease risk state that researchers have exaggerated the role of saturated fat in the development of heart disease.

Also, a team of cardiologists wrote an article stating that the consumption of saturated fat does not clog the arteries or increase the risk of heart disease. Another article says that numerous analyses and reviews do not support the notion that eating saturated fat has links with heart disease.All things considered, there is evidence both for and against saturated fats playing a role in heart disease.

Heart Disease, Diabetes and Death
The effects of red meat on health have been well studied.However, most of these studies are so-called observational studies, which are designed to detect associations but cannot prove causation.

Several observational studies show that red meat is associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and death.Nevertheless, not all red meat has the same health effects.

A massive review of 20 studies including 1,218,380 individuals found that processed meat was associated with an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. However, no association was found for unprocessed red meat.

In the EPIC study, a very large observational study including 448,568 people, processed meat increased the risk of death, while no effect was seen for unprocessed red meat .

When it comes to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and death, it’s crucial to distinguish between processed and unprocessed meat, as the two can have vastly different effects.

The observational studies seem to agree that processed meat (not unprocessed red meat) is associated with an increased risk of an early death and many diseases.

But even so, it’s important to keep in mind that these studies have limitations. It’s impossible to draw strong conclusions from observational studies.The only way to establish cause and effect is to perform randomized controlled trials.

SUMMARY Some observational studies show a link between meat intake, diabetes, heart disease and death. Other studies suggest this only applies to processed meat, not unprocessed red meat.

Heart disease and trimethylamine N-oxide
Some studies have suggested that aside from the saturated fats debate, red meat still has other potential heart disease risks.

A recent study found that people who eat red meat regularly have higher levels of a metabolite called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). Bacteria in the gut produce TMAO during digestion. It is a toxin that researchers have linked to an increased risk of heart disease death.

This study shows that people who ate red meat had triple the levels of TMAO compared with those who ate white meat or plant based proteins. However, their TMAO levels returned to normal around 4 weeks after stopping eating red meat.

Cancer and mortality
Some recent research suggests that eating red meat regularly could increase the risk of cancer or death. The findings of specific studies vary, however.

One 2015 paper states that red meat is “probably carcinogenic to humans,” and that processed meat is “carcinogenic to humans.” This is consistent with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) classifications.

Specifically, the paper states that based on several large studies, people who ate more red meat were more likely to develop colorectal cancer. The risk was higher for both red meat and processed meat, though processed meat seemed to raise the risk more.

The research also found a higher risk of pancreatic and prostate cancer in those who ate red meat. Finally, those who ate more processed meat also had a higher risk of stomach cancer.

May increase the risk of certain types of cancer
a doctor holding a tablet
The authors say that meat processing methods, such as curing and smoking, can create cancer causing chemicals. This may be why researchers have linked processed meat with greater health risks than unprocessed meat.

Other research has also shown links between red meat and cancer. For example:

One study tracked over 42,000 women for 7 years and found that higher consumption of red meat had links with a higher risk of invasive breast cancer. Conversely, women who ate poultry instead of red meat had a lower risk.
Another study, which followed 53,000 women and 27,000 men, found that those who ate red meat, especially processed meat, had higher mortality rates over the course of 8 years. The participants did not have heart disease or cancer when the study began. Increases of “at least half a serving” of red meat per day had a 10% higher mortality risk.
A large study that followed more than 120,000 men and women for 10 years found that only processed red meat, not unprocessed types, was associated with a higher risk of death.
Cardiovascular Health
Red meat has a bad reputation for its effect on your cardiovascular health. It contains saturated fat, a type of fat that increases your harmful cholesterol level, putting you at higher risk of heart disease and upping your risk of premature death, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Processed red meat also often contains sodium and nitrates, which also increase your cardiovascular disease risk.

However, some evidence suggests that certain types of red meat might not have the same effect on your cardiovascular health. A study published in the “British Journal of Nutrition” in 2012 found that lean lamb meat and grilled chicken breast had the same impact on blood cholesterol levels. While more research is needed to find out if eating lamb has less impact on cardiovascular disease than beef, opting for lamb over beef might benefit your heart.

Colon and Rectal Health
Red meat negatively affects your colon. Individuals who consume large amounts of red meat on a regular basis — 5 ounces daily — face a higher risk of colon cancer, reports Harvard Medical School, and those who regularly consume processed red meat are at an even higher risk. Lamb also poses a significant threat to your colon health and ups your risk of colon cancer, while pork increases your risk of rectal cancer.

Does Red Meat Increase Your Risk of Cancer?
Many observational studies show that red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of cancer .

The main type of cancer that red meat is believed to cause is colorectal cancer, the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world.A recurrent problem in these studies is that they seem to pool together processed meat and unprocessed red meat.

Meta-analyses in which researchers analyze data from many studies show that the increased risk of colorectal cancer is very low. One meta-analysis found a weak effect for men, but no effect for women .

Other studies suggest that it’s not the meat itself, but rather harmful compounds that form when the meat is cooked, that contribute to the increased risk .

Therefore, the cooking method may be a major determinant of the ultimate health effects of meat.

SUMMARYSeveral observational studies show that red meat eaters are at a greater risk of cancer, but larger reviews looking at the evidence as a whole show that the effect is weak and inconsistent.


Red Meat
Almost 24,000 participants died during the study, including about 5,900 from cardiovascular disease and about 9,500 from cancer. Those who consumed the highest levels of both unprocessed and processed red meat had the highest risk of all-cause of mortality, cancer mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality. After adjusting for other risk factors, the researchers calculated that 1 additional serving per day of unprocessed red meat over the course of the study raised the risk of total mortality by 13%. An extra serving of processed red meat (such as bacon, hot dogs, sausage and salami) raised the risk by 20%.

The researchers estimated that substituting 1 serving per day of other foods—like fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, low-fat dairy and whole grains—for red meat could lower the risk of mortality by 7% to 19%.If the people had all consumed fewer than half a serving per day (about 1.5 ounces) of red meat, the scientists calculated, 9.3% of the deaths in men and 7.6% of the deaths in women could have been prevented.

10 Reasons To Stop Eating Red Meat
If you’re thinking of going vegetarian (or at least flexitarian, for those who want a side of meat with their plants), this list is all the motivation you’ll need. The health and environmental costs of our meat-based food system might be enough to make you want to swap that steak for a salad—for good.

1. Eating meat hardens blood vessels
1. Eating meat hardens blood vessels
A compound found in red meat (and even used as an additive in some energy drinks) called carnitine has been found to cause atherosclerosis, the hardening or clogging of the arteries, according to a study published in the journal Nature Medicine. The research, which included more than 2,500 vegans, vegetarians, and omnivore cardiac patients, suggests that carnitine converts to a heart-damaging compound, trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), via bacteria in the intestine. Researchers found that increased carnitine levels predicted increased risks for cardiovascular disease.

2. Your vegetarian friends might outlive you
2. Your vegetarian friends might outlive you
A study from Harvard School of Public Health found an association with red meat consumption and increased risk of a shortened lifespan. Eating healthier protein sources such as fish, poultry, nuts, and legumes was associated with a lower risk of mortality. “We know processed red meat like hot dogs and salami are the worst,” says Larry Santora, MD, medical director of the Dick Butkus Center for Cardiovascular Wellness, Saint Joseph Hospital, Orange, California. The cause is not clear, but it may be in the preparation, since charring meat increases toxins (nitrosamines) that can lead to cancer of the stomach, says Dr. Santora.

3. You’re eating pink slime
The meat industry refers to it as “lean finely textured beef (LFTB),” but the public knows it as pink slime. This meat additive contains fatty bits of leftover meat that’s heated, spun to remove the fat, and then treated with ammonia gas to kill bacteria. It’s then shipped off to grocery stores and meat packers, where the slime is added to ground beef (70% of supermarket ground beef contains the additive).

And the ammonia treatment may allow pathogens into the food supply. “The real danger comes from the preparation and the likelihood that the bacteria will spread in your kitchen,” says Michael Schmidt, PhD, professor at the department of microbiology and immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina. (Pink slime’s not the only gross thing in your food.

4. That expensive filet may be “glued” together scraps
4. That expensive filet may be “glued” together scraps
Binding together smaller cuts of meat into a larger serving can be done with a “meat glue” called transglutaminase, an enzyme formerly harvested from animal blood, but now produced through fermentation of bacteria. When added to meat, it forms an invisible bond, making a round filet mignon shape out of smaller pieces. Although it’s on the USDA’s GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) list, the more pieces of stuck-together meat you’re eating, the higher the risk of contamination. “The question to ask is how many cows are in the ‘glue’ you’re eating,” says Dr. Schmidt. The more cows, the greater the risk. (Vegetarians, you’re not quite off the hook here: transglutaminase can be used in some meatless products like tofu, yogurt, and cereal, so buy products as close to their natural states as possible.)

5. Livestock production impacts the planet in a huge way
If you drive a fuel-efficient car and use reusable cloth grocery bags to shop, you can further help the planet by cutting out meat as well. Meat impacts the environment more than any other food we eat, mainly because livestock require much more land, food, water, and energy than plants to raise and transport. Producing a four-ounce (quarter pound) hamburger, for example, requires 7 pounds of grain and forage, 53 gallons of drinking water and irrigating feed crops, 75 square feet for grazing and growing feed crops, and 1,036 BTUs for feed production and transport—enough to power a microwave for 18 minutes.

6. You can get sick from E. coli. You can get sick You can get sick from E. coli
Foods most likely to sicken you with E. coli include unpasteurized (raw) milk and unpasteurized apple cider, according to the CDC, but cattle also present a major threat. Similar to the way the “meat glue” risk works, the risk of E. coli depends largely on the number of cows making up your ground beef. “Your burger may contain meat from fewer than 10 cows or more than 1,000. The only way to know is ask the butcher—most states have laws in place against fudging these facts that will not let them lie,” says Dr. Schmidt. The greater the number of cows in the hamburger, the greater the chance of contracting something that wasn’t intended to be in the meat, he says. E. coli can cause dehydration, abdominal cramps, and kidney failure.

7. The animal cruelty factor is sickening
7. The animal cruelty factor is sickening
It’s sometimes easy to forget that the steak on your plate was part of a living creature. But the path from livestock to entrée can be fraught with unbelievable animal cruelty, says Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection at the Humane Society of the United States. “From locking animals in tiny cages, to slicing parts of their bodies off without any pain relief, to genetically selecting them to grow so obese and so fast that many become lame, it’s by far the biggest cause of animal suffering in the world.” Vegetarian protein sources provide nutrition without any such torture.

8. Eating meat ups your risk of type 2 diabetesAccording to a report published by JAMA Internal Medicine, eating red or processed meat can, over time, increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. “Specifically, 3.5 ounces of red meat or 1.8 ounces of processed meat (e.g. a hot dog or 2 slices of bacon) daily led to a 19% and 51% increase in diabetes risk, respectively,” says Dan Nadeau, MD, endocrinologist at Mary and Dick Allen Diabetes Center at Hoag Hospital in Irvine, California. “Diets rich in animal products contribute to the increased risk incidence of obesity as well as type 2 diabetes in the U.S.”

9. Meat puts your colon and brain at risk
9. You put your colon and brain at risk
Meat contains a whole lot of iron which, when eaten in excess, can raise levels of iron in the brain and may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a recent study from UCLA. When iron accumulates in the brain, myelin—a fatty tissue that coats nerve fibers—is destroyed. This disrupts brain communication, and signs of Alzheimer’s appear.

Eating red and processed meats also greatly increases the risk of colorectal cancer in people with a genetic predisposition. Affecting one in three individuals, the gene plays a role in the immune system, according to researchers. If you have this gene, eating and digesting meat may trigger an immune or inflammatory response.

10. Meat is chock full of harmful hormones
Hormones added to red meat boost breast cancer risk, according to a large study of more than 90,000 women published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Women who ate more than 1.5 servings (approximately 6 ounces) of red meat per day had nearly double the risk of developing hormone-sensitive breast cancer than women who ate 3 or fewer servings per week. Researchers believe the hormones or hormone-like compounds in red meat increase cancer risk by attaching to specific hormone receptors on the tumors.

Cooking methods and cancer
Altering cooking techniques can help to reduce cancer-causing chemicals in red meat.
Using a different cooking technique can help reduce the levels of cancer causing chemicals in the meat.
When a person cooks meat at a high temperature, such as by pan frying it or grilling it over an open flame, certain chemicals form in the meat. These chemicals, called heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, may cause changes in DNA that lead to cancer.

Exposure to these chemicals can cause cancer in animals, but experts do not know for certain that this also happens in humans.

The National Cancer Institute say that people can reduce their exposure to these chemicals by:

not cooking meat, including white meat, over an open flame or on a very hot metal surface
precooking meat in a microwave to reduce the time a person needs to cook it over high heat
turning and flipping the meat regularly during cooking
not eating charred portions of meat
Serving antioxidant rich vegetables, such as dark leafy greens, with cooked meats is another good way to support the body.

How much red meat is too much?
The guidelines for how much red meat is healthful vary from organization to organization.

The World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) say that if a person eats red meat, they should limit their intake to 3 servings per week. This would be equivalent to about 12–18 oz per week. They also say to eat little, “if any,” processed meat.

They explain that meat can be a valuable source of nutrients, but that people do not need to eat meat — red or otherwise — to be healthy. In fact, they say that “people can obtain adequate protein from a mixture of pulses (legumes) and cereals (grains).”

The AHA are less specific in their meat recommendations. They say that people should cut back on meat and only eat it “once in a while,” sticking to lean cuts and portions that are no larger than 6 oz. However, not everyone agrees that people should avoid or limit red meat.

One article states that an “overzealous focus” on limiting red meat can lead people to eat less nutritious foods, such as highly processed junk foods. Also, because researchers have linked highly processed foods with numerous health problems, this may not be a positive trade-off.

The article also states that “unprocessed red meats are one of the best sources of high quality protein and make important contributions to nutrient intakes.” They can also keep triglyceride levels lower than high carbohydrate diets do.

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