The Red Meat Myth
The media loves bastardizing nutrition research to make a catchy headline. When research comes out that shows a weak correlation between red meat and mortality, the papers say, “Red meat will kill you”.
The truth is that red meat, when consumed several times a week, will increase your chances of all-cause mortality by about 10%. That’s really small considering all the other factors that go into your life expectancy. Smoking increases all-cause mortality by about 2200% (22x).
Let’s poke some holes in this research.
The research can’t figure out if people are chewing their meat enough (less chewing means more colon conditions). Nor can they figure out if the meat was charred/burned (that’s a big carcinogen too).
So it’s complicated. And I’m just getting started.
Here’s another hole I can poke in the red meat myth: Cows that are partially grass-fed provide a healthier fat profile. They provide omega 3’s in their fat. Yes, that’s the fish-oil supplement you’ve heard of that is supposed to cure everything.
Conversely, cows that end up at big chain grocery stores are fed industrial feeds, protein powder, soy, etc. and their fat has no omega 3’s, and so it’s more harmful to us. They are fed this way because that’s the least expensive way to raise a cow.
So, if you are avoiding red meat for your health, you’re making an ill-informed choice. Red meat is good for you, a few times a week, when part of a healthy diet, and you don’t burn the crap out of it. It provides protein which most people don’t get enough of, and iron, which most women don’t get enough of.
Even better if it’s partially or completely grass-fed. To be honest, when I think about eating a grocery-store steak, all I can think of is how unnatural it is, and it turns me off.
And if you’re still worried about red meat and death, there are a lot of things you can do to be healthier.
Eating 5-10 servings of fruit and vegetables per day can help prevent cancer and 60 minutes of exercise a day will drastically reduce heart disease risk.
A healthy lifestyle can add 20-30 years to your life, and along the way you’ll feel better.
Don’t forget to chew your meat so it’s not as hard on your intestines. You might enjoy it even more.
And don’t forget that one glass of red wine a day is good for you, which happens to pair well with steak.