Although, red meat is an important support of our diet, people have suspected for some time that high levels of red and processed meat increase the risk of lot of complicated diseases. But how far it is true? Are all types of red meats bad? Is there any open secret?
Recent studies indicate that red meat could pose a noteworthy increase in cancer risk- (from stomach, bowel and lymphoma to prostate, bladder cancer). A University of Leeds research suggests that eating red meat significantly increases a post-menopausal woman’s chance of breast cancer.
Some scientists believe that eating cooked red meat may increase the likelihood of cancer because carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines are created during the cooking process.
Red meat consumption is also associated with cardiovascular diseases, because of its high content of saturated fat. ‘Regular’ consumption of red meat has also been linked to bone loss, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and arthritis.
A major study carried out by The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) has found fresh evidence linking eating red and processed meat and bowel cancer.
In gastronomy, “red meat” means darker-colored meat. According to standard definition, they are, beef, mutton, duck, goose etc. And the meat of young mammals such as milk-fed veal and chicken are traditionally considered white.
According to the US Department of Agriculture all meats obtained from “livestock” are “red meats” because they contain more myoglobin than chicken or fish.
On the other hand, this protein meat is one of the richest sources of iron and it and contains minerals such as zinc and phosphorus, and vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B12, thiamine and riboflavin. It is also rich source of Alpha Lioic Acid, a powerful antioxidant.
Some nutritionists think that red meat whether good or bad — depends on the type of meat- if it is lean red meat and trimmed of visible fat- it is not going to raise cholesterol levels. Lean trimmed red meat is low in saturated fat. One study suggests that lean red meat may play a role in a low-fat diet for persons with high cholesterol.
So, avoid fried meats, fatty meats and meat which has fat marbled through it. But remember, while, (approximately) cholesterol content of beef meat is 50 (mg per 100g) — the amount of cholesterol in Beef heart would be (103), liver would be (271), kidney would be (313) and brain would be (1352) certainly very high. But the amount of cholesterol in Veal meat is not that bad.
So not mix up different parts of beef. Just make sure the cuts are lean and trimmed of fat and the serving sizes are moderate. In fine, eat lean red meat and limit consumption as early as possible to reduce chances of developing cancer and other diseases.
Dr Rubaiul Murshed
Source: The Daily Star, February 15, 2009