Too much red meat can be bad for your heart and general health. Red meat tends to be higher in both saturated fat and cholesterol.
The American Heart Association recommends:
- In lieu of red meat, opt for skinless chicken or turkey, fish or beans.
If you really love red meat, watch how much you eat.
Stick to a healthy portion size, which for red meat is about the size of a deck of cards.
Look for leaner cuts, possibly labelled as sirloin, round or loin.
Before you cook, cut away visible fat. After cooking, pour off the fat from the pan before eating.
It’s a question that keeps coming up, fueled by research and high-profile campaigns by advocacy groups on both sides of the debate.WebMD asked the experts, looking for answers about disease risk, health benefits, and what role red meat should play in the diet.
Here’s what they had to say.
“The association between consumption of red and processed meats and cancer, particularly colorectal cancer, is very consistent,” says Marji McCullough, PhD, a nutritional epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society.
After a systemic review of scientific studies, an expert panel of the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research concluded in 2007 that “red or processed meats are convincing or probable sources of some cancers.” Their report says evidence is convincing for a link between red meat, processed meat, and colorectal cancer, and limited but suggestive for links to lung, esophageal, stomach, pancreatic, and endometrial cancers.
Rashmi Sinha, PhD, the lead author of the National Cancer Institute study, points to a large number of studies that link red meat consumption with chronic diseases.
“The level of evidence is what people look at,” Sinha says. “If there are 20 studies that say one thing and two studies that say the other thing, you believe the 20 studies.”