Most people consider a diet rich in red meat to be “healthy”; however, that could be completely wrong. There are a lot of important things to consider before you make that assumption, and the fact is a meat-based diet doesn’t always hold the key to good health.
What Is A Meat-Based Diet?
A meat-based diet typically includes red meat such as beef, pork, and lamb as well as game meats such as venison and elk. This type of diet is usually high in protein and low in carbohydrates, with the occasional carbohydrate-rich food like potatoes and pasta.
A common misconception about a meat-based diet is that it provides all the essential nutrients required by the body. While it does contain iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin C, those nutrients are not created in sufficient amounts in food. That being said, you may need supplementation for those nutrients if you don’t get them in sufficient amounts from the food you eat.
The World Health Organization recommends that men should eat no more than 9.5 ounces (0.28 kg) of red meat per day and that women should eat no more than 7.5 ounces (0.22 kg) per day to avoid developing diet-related illnesses. So even though a meat-based diet is considered “healthy” due to the abundance of nutrients it contains, it could actually be doing more harm than good.
Eating meat provides essential nutrients such as iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin C, all of which the human body needs to function properly. It also contains zinc and selenium which are valuable antioxidants that contribute to good health. Finally, meat contains high-quality protein that the body needs in order to grow and maintain strong bones.
There are also several potential health benefits attributed to a diet rich in red meat. For instance, some studies suggest that eating large amounts of red meat could possibly reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Another study suggested that people who ate a lot of red meat had an increased chance of surviving heart disease. Furthermore, studies have shown that a diet rich in red meat helps to improve cholesterol levels and, as a result, lowers the risk of heart disease.
Dangers & Side Effects
Even though meat is an essential part of a healthy diet, it doesn’t mean that all foods are good for the body. In fact, there are a number of dangerous foods that are commonly referred to as “steak” that should never be eaten. Some of these are:
- Raw vegetables
- Undercooked meat
- Deep fried foods
Some of these foods contain a substance known as “cyanide” or “HCN” which give them their deadly properties. For instance, eating foods contaminated with cyanide can cause your taste buds to permanently change and make them aggressive towards other foods. Those who eat foods containing HCN also experience an overall loss of appetite which can lead to malnutrition.
It’s also important to understand the potential side effects of an abundance of red meat consumption. Some of the risks associated with a meat-based diet include:
- Stomach cancer
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
With all of that in mind, it’s clear that a meat-based diet is not necessarily an unhealthy choice. However, it is certainly not something to be taken lightly, and it certainly requires a bit of research before you dive into consuming large amounts of red meat. If you want to become healthier, it might be a good idea to eliminate some of the foods that are harming you out of your diet and replace them with healthier alternatives. For instance, you could replace the beef in your diet with chicken or fish.
The takeaway from this discussion is that a meat-based diet does not absolutely ensure good health. Rather, it requires an individualized and healthy approach that takes into account a number of different factors. Some of those factors include:
- Your age
- How much activity you get done on a daily basis
- How much sleep you get each night
- Whether or not you have any supplements or medications that might be contributing to your health
- How much stress you are experiencing at work and at home
- Whether or not you eat cleanly or regularly
- Your personal preferences
An individualized and healthy approach to diet is important because there are a lot of foods that we commonly think of as “healthy” that might not be doing our bodies any favors. For example, fast food typically contains a lot of fat and calories which, when eaten regularly, can easily lead to weight gain and various types of diet-related illnesses. At the same time, fruits contain vital nutrients that our bodies need in order to remain healthy. However, eating too many fruits can also cause us to gain weight due to the high sugar content in many fruits. The point is that our bodies are not meant to function on a purely dietary basis. Instead, it needs to be fuelled by a healthy diet that takes into account a number of different factors including but not limited to: food quality, food quantity, cooking methods, and food combinations.
So that’s it. Is a meat-based diet healthy for you? While it doesn’t hurt to eat a diet rich in red meat as long as you don’t eat the wrong kinds of foods, it would be a mistake to think that this is what gives you the health benefits. This is also not the case for everyone, and it’s something that you need to determine for yourself based on the above factors.