Not all red meats are created equal. Better phrased – not all red meats affect our health equally. These are the findings published recently in Circulation, the scholarly journal of the American Heart Association.
Turns out that processed meats are far more likely to increase your chances of diabetes and heart disease, when compared to unprocessed. The study, a meta-analysis of previous research efforts, specifically bifurcated meats to 2 categories – unprocessed and processed.
Eating unprocessed beef, pork or lamb appeared not to raise risks of heart attacks and diabetes … suggesting that salt and chemical preservatives may be the real cause of these two health problems associated with eating meat.
… on average, each 1.8 oz (50 grams) daily serving of processed meat a day — one to two slices of deli meats or one hot dog — was associated with a 42 percent higher risk of heart disease and a 19 percent higher risk of developing diabetes.
“To lower risk of heart attacks and diabetes, people should consider which types of meats they are eating,” said Renata Micha of the Harvard School of Public Health. Read more…
So T-bone steak – yes. Hot dog – no. Chuck roast – yes. Bologna – no.
What you need to know:
This is a very interesting finding. Although the two groups of meat were similar in saturated fats, the ingredients that may cause the different health outcomes were the additives. The study found that processed meats contained, on average, four times more sodium and 50% more nitrate preservatives than unprocessed meats.
The American Meat Institute rejected the findings, stating that one study is not sufficient to draw conclusions.
What to do at the supermarket:
Although processed meats are very convenient, they contain many ingredients that are not good for you. Best to buy lean cuts of meat that you can prepare at home. Or consider other healthy alternatives – fish, poultry and legumes.