Red meat gets a lot of bad press these days. From 1970 to 1975, the American per capita meat consumption was the highest it had ever been, at a whopping 85 pounds per year. And then, studies started coming out about the potential link between red meat and a whole host of diseases, including stomach cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, heart disease, and Type II diabetes. And the public responded to all of this bad press.
These days, the average per capita meat consumption per American is a modest 65 pounds. Which for those of you who are mathematically minded, that works out to about 3 ounces a day.
But has red meat earned its bad press? Is it really all that bad for you?
According to researchers, it isn't necessarily the meat that is bad for you. Red meat is an excellent source of many nutrients needed by your body, including iron, B12, zinc, protein, magnesium, selenium, and phosphorus. But red meat is also high in saturated fat, which has definitively been linked to heart disease.
It may not be red meat itself that's bad for you. Studies have shown that people who eat red meat are also more likely to smoke, eat more refined foods, and eat fewer fruits and vegetables. This suggests that the link between red meat and heart disease might actually be a link between an unhealthy lifestyle and heart disease.
And nutritionists say that there is no need to cut red meat out of your diet, as long as you eat lean cuts of meat, practice portion control, and keep your diet well balanced. In this case, red meat is good for you, because it offers all of the health benefits and few of the health risks. And how much is a healthy portion of red meat? According to government guidelines, three ounces of red meat a day is just about right, with two to three more ounces of protein coming from other sources every day as well.Which means that Americans seem to be right on track with how much red meat they should eat each day.
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