Jan 07, 2015
Fatty red meat is high in saturated fats, which raises the bad cholesterol in the blood, known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Elevated levels of LDL cholesterol increase your risk for coronary heart disease.
Fatty cuts of beef, ground beef (especially if less than 85 percent lean), lamb, pork, sausage, hot dogs, and bacon are all culprits. Deli meats, too, can contain high levels of fat. In addition to being linked to an increased risk of heart disease, eating large amounts of fatty red meat increases your overall calorie intake, possibly leading to excess weight and obesity.
Red Meat: Cancer Research
A recent study from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) found that if your diet includes a lot of red meat and processed meat (like salami, bacon, or deli meats), rather than non-processed white meat (skinless chicken and turkey), you may have a shortened life span because of the link to heart disease and cancer. The study specifically noted that people who ate the most red meat increased their risk of death by more than 30 percent compared to those who ate the least. This included death from heart disease and cancer.
Another study highlighted the link between a high consumption of red and processed meat and colon cancer. High consumption of beef, lamb, or pork was described as 3 or more ounces a day for men and 2 or more ounces for women; high consumption of hot dogs, bacon, ham, sausage, or cold cuts was considered to be 1 ounce eaten five to six days a week for men, and two to three days a week for women. In this study, people who ate the most processed meat had a 50-percent greater risk of colon cancer and a 20-percent greater risk of rectal cancer as compared to those who ate the least.
Protein, found in meat, is an important part of a healthy diet, along with carbohydrates and the right kinds of fat. The body uses protein as its building blocks for your muscles, bones, cartilage, blood, and skin. As long as it's not your only source of protein, lean meat is the better way to enjoy red meat. Look for cuts that have no visible fat or with less marbling; look for ground beef that's at least 90 percent lean.
Other smart protein sources include Fatty fish, like salmon, trout, and herring. These are high in a type of polyunsaturated fatty acids (one of the good fats) called omega-3 fatty acids. Eating these fish may reduce your risk of death from heart disease.
Seeds and nuts, like walnuts and flax. These are good sources of essential fatty acids. Others, like sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, and almonds, are also good sources of vitamin E. They are all, however, very calorie-dense, so limit your portions.