Several years ago there was an ad campaign that promoted “Pork – The Other White Meat.” It seemed to boast about the superiority of white meats like pork or fowl, implying that red meat was somehow inferior. Of course, meat in general has a bad reputation with some people, but more and more people seem to be criticizing red meat and emphasizing its disadvantages and risks. However, these people don’t appreciate that red meat as part of the daily diet provides two very significant advantages: protein and nutrients.
The protein part of consuming red meat is obvious. It is “a major source of protein, providing about 20g/100g of beef or lamb consumed” (McAfee et al. 10). Studies emphasize the importance of the meat being lean meat in order to reduce fat intake (McAfee et al.). Protein is a significant source of energy, so people who consume red meat are taking in protein and therefore getting good energy. Furthermore, diets high in protein (lean meat) and low in carbohydrates “has recently been found to facilitate weight loss and weight maintenance” better than a low protein diet (McAfee et al. 10). So, red meat serves as an excellent source of protein and can help people lose weight or maintain healthy weights.
In addition to protein, red meat is also a great source of several nutrients “which are required for general health and well-being” (Williamson et al. 328). For example, “a 100g serving of beef” is considered “a rich source of vitamin B12, and a source of niacin, vitamin B6, zinc and phosphorus” (Williamson et al. 328). These nutrients are important to various functions of the body. It has been found that “meat and animal-derived foods are the only foods that naturally provide B12” meaning that red meat is one of the best possible ways for people to get B12. Red meat is also a good source of vitamin D and iron (McAfee et al.).
Despite the bad press that red meat frequently receives – after all, it has been accused of causing cancer and contributing to obesity and diabetes (Williamson et al.) – red meat isn’t all risks and disadvantages. It provides two very important advantages in terms of health. It is an excellent source of protein and provides several nutrients that either can only be gotten through animal-derived foods or simply occur in significant amounts in red meat. In short, red meat is a beneficial part of a healthy diet, as long as it’s eaten in moderation (McAfee et al.). As Williamson et al. stated, “Red meat contains high biological value protein and important micronutrients, all of which are essential for good health throughout life” (324).
- McAfee, Alison J., et al. “Red Meat Consumption: An Overview of the Risks and Benefits.”
- Meat Science 84.1 (2010): 1-13. Web.
- Williamson, C. S., et al. “Red meat in the diet.” Nutrition Bulletin 30.4 (2005): 323-355. Web.