With all the talk these days regarding diets, there is bound to be confusion in regards what you should and should not eat.
One popular topic is regarding meat. Humans have been eating meat since the beginning of time.
However, the choice to eat meat is more of an ethical one. Some do not eat meat because it is against their religion, while others may consider it animal torture or dangerous to the environment. The decision to eat meat is something you will have to answer for yourself.
Is Meat Good Or Bad For You?
There is no question that meat can provide important health benefits. Meat has been shown to help build and repair muscle tissue, and produce antibodies to protect the body from infection. Furthermore, meat contains essential amino acids for cellular functions. Meat also contains numerous minerals and vitamins to promote stronger teeth, skin and support the central nervous system. However, some studies claim that meat can shorten your life span, cause cancer, or increase your risk of heart disease. However, we must pay attention to how we interpret these outcomes since at times some variables are not taken into account.
You can find those studies here.
What Do Experiments Say About Meat?
A confounding variable is one that occurs when the experiment does not allow one to eliminate alternative explanations for an observed relationship between independent and dependent variables.
For example, let’s say we want to compare the life spans of meat eaters and vegans, and at the end of the test period the results show that vegans live longer. However, this experiment would be poorly done since it would not control numerous variables that can change the outcome.
Perhaps, an alternative explanation for why vegans live longer is that they are also non-smokers, non-drinkers, who exercise daily and lack a family history of heart disease or cancer.
One cannot make generalized statements without controlling these variables. If you drink, smoke and if you are severely overweight with hypertension and high cholesterol, then yes, you will die earlier.
If you do not take your medications to control your other health conditions, then yes, you may die from those complications.
Furthermore, meat eaters may be eating diets high in sugars and fat which can put them at risk for diabetes. If that’s the case, then yes, they are more likely to die from complications of diabetes.
You will not die alone from eating meat. Ultimately, when you assess these studies you need to keep in account that it is the overall life choices people make that lead to poor outcomes in health.
What Are Some General Tips For Eating Meat In A Balanced Diet?
If you decide to eat meat, you should keep in mind some general tips on how to eat meat.
First off, you should be eating ground-fed lean cuts of meat without antibiotics. The media has warned us about saturated fat being a link to heart disease.
Yes, meat can contain saturated fat. Avoid processed meats such as deli meats since these contain high saturated fats and have been linked to cause disease, illness and cancer.
Instead, opt to select ground-fed chicken breast, turkey, and fish. They are rich in protein and low in fat.
If you choose to eat burgers or steak, select those leaner cuts to reduce your saturated fat intake.
Second, eat them with vegetables. Vegetables are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy.
When you eat your lean meats with vegetables you will keep yourself healthy and the fiber will keep you full so you eat less.
Third, eat meats that are cooked on low temperatures that are slowly cooked to avoid toxic byproducts such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (pahs) and heterocyclic amines (hcas).
Fourth, eat meat with a well-balanced diet of whole grains, vegetables and fruits to keep your body lean.
What’s The Final Word On Eating Meat?
Overall, as you go through the medical research you will see half of the studies say meat is bad and the other half say meat is good.
more: The Truth About Red Meat
At the end of the day you should be eating meat in moderation. You will grow stronger, and the protein will aid your cellular functions.
But more importantly, you need to choose appropriate life choices. Strive to do cardio 30 minutes a day, lift weights there times a week, eat a well-balanced diet low in saturated fats, and avoid smoking, drinking and illicit drug use.
Make an effort to maintain mental wellness, low stress, and foster stronger relationships in your life. Keep your mind, body and soul at peace and this will ensure you live a long and happy life.
Rajiv M Mallipudi, md, mhs is an internal medicine resident physician, personal trainer, athlete and author. He has over a decade of personal training experience and helped hundreds of clients of all levels achieve their weight loss and fitness goals. This inspired him to work as a clinical researcher at the nationally recognized Johns Hopkins Hospital Weight Management Center. During medical school he and his classmates created the health and wellness organization, medfit, which provided personal training and nutrition counseling to the medical student body. In his spare time, Dr. Mallipudi enjoys playing ice hockey, dancing, and training for his next bodybuilding and powerlifting competitions. Dr. Mallipudi serves as a contributing writer for the Diet and Fitness sections.
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