By Tom Bonanti

Whether you’re a raging carnivore who demands meat at every feeding, or a less engaged enthusiast who enjoys an occasional lean filet, you’re no less aware of the debate whether meat is good or bad for your health. This week let’s review the nutritional pros and cons of eating red meat.

The benefits of eating red meat:

Red meat is a great source of vitamins like B6, B12, and Vitamin D which a body needs to function properly.

Meat, especially grass fed beef or lamb, is higher in omega-3 fatty acids which keep cholesterol levels in the good ranges.

Red meat is a rich source of protein. If you’re active in sports or working out regularly, your body needs steady and convenient sources of protein like red meat, fish, chicken and lean pork. The International Sports Sciences Association recommends .8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass.
The downside of eating red meat:

Red meat is higher in saturated fat and cholesterol which can clog arteries and lead to heart disease and strokes.

Grilling meat is a waist-line friendly cooking method, but it can result in harmful compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCA’s) forming in the cooked meat which have been linked to cancer.

Processed red meats like bacon, hot dogs and most packaged lunch meats are loaded with saturated fat, bad cholesterol, sodium, nitrates and other preservatives which have been linked to increased risk of colon and pancreatic cancers.

Bottom Line: Two 3-4 ounce portions of red meat per week is considered healthy. Avoid processed meats and fatty cuts of beef like prime rib and rib-eye steak. Consume lean cuts such as flank steak, New York strip and tender loin. Trim off excess fat, grill or broil properly and enjoy!

Tom Bonanti is a licensed massage therapist (MA#40288) and personal trainer. Contact Tom with questions regarding fitness and nutrition!