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Myth or reality: Is red meat bad for our health? 🥩

Myth or reality: Is red meat bad for our health?
Red meat contains numerous vitamins and minerals that are essential for a healthy and balanced diet. In recent years, however, its reputation has been severely damaged, with studies suggesting that red meat intake may increase the risk of cancer and other diseases. But is it really that bad for us?

Red meat, under an appropriate culinary process (grill, oven), must appear at least once in the weekly diet. However, you should avoid eating processed meat foods. Cold cuts, especially fatty ones, have a large amount of additives, nitrites and other substances necessary for their preservation that can be harmful to health.

The truth is that in the last 10 years, red meat consumption has decreased by around 4.5 kilograms per person, with 2014 being the year in which the smallest amount of red meat has been consumed since 1960.

According to a 2016 survey, approximately 8 million adults in the United States are vegetarians or vegans. However, it appears that many millions more people around the world are choosing vegetable and fruit-based foods over meat-based products because we believe they are healthier. The survey found that 37% of adults "always" or "sometimes" opted for vegetarian meals when eating at a restaurant, with health concerns cited as the reason in 36% of responses.

Red meat and cancer.

  • When it comes to red meat intake, cancer is perhaps the most pronounced implication. In October 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a report concluding that red meat was "probably carcinogenic to humans," meaning there is some evidence that it may increase the risk of cancer. Additionally, the WHO also reported that processed meats were “carcinogenic to humans,” meaning there is sufficient evidence that eating processed meat increases the risk of cancer.

Red meat and heart disease.

  • An unhealthy diet, high in saturated fat and cholesterol, represents a well-known risk factor for heart disease. A large number of studies have suggested that red meat increases the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions.
  • A 2014 study of more than 37,000 men concluded that men who consumed more than 75 grams of processed red meat per day had a 1.28 times greater risk of heart failure than those who consumed less than 25 grams per day. However, another study conducted determined that eating 85 grams of red meat three times a week did not lead to an increase in cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Red meat and colon inflammation.

  • Diverticulitis is a condition in which inflammation occurs in one or more of the sacs that line the wall of the colon; This inflammation can lead to a number of serious complications, including abscesses, colon perforation and peritonitis.
  • Although the specific causes of diverticulitis are unclear, one study suggested that eating large amounts of red meat may also increase the likelihood of developing diverticulitis. Compared to men who ate low amounts of red meat, those who reported eating the highest amounts had a 58% increased risk of developing diverticulitis.

Human beings, as omnivorous animals, need a varied diet. Red meat should be part of the diet, although in very moderate quantities. On the one hand, it provides a good amount of proteins of high biological value, which have all the essential amino acids and have adequate digestibility. In addition, it is a food rich in highly bioavailable iron and is an interesting source of B vitamins.

In conclusion...

The consumption of red meat is not harmful to health; On the contrary, it is necessary. Yes, the consumption of industrially processed meat can be dangerous, as well as incorrect preparation of meat using inappropriate cooking methods.

Red meat should be a regular part of the diet. Consuming it once a week improves protein intake and reduces the probability of developing anemia in the not too distant future.

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