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July 25, 2023

Is White Meat Better Than Red Meat?

Posted In: Fitness & Wellness, Nutrition

If you’re discussing white meat, and red meat with both a nutritionist and a chef, you’ll get two different definitions of what white meat and red meat are. For chefs, white meat can include pork, milk-fed young mammal flesh like lamb and veal, rabbit, and poultry. For dieticians, white meat is strictly poultry and fish. It can cause a lot of confusion. Poultry is usually considered white meat with fish in a separate category, while red meat includes beef, bison, venison, lamb, and pork.

What makes red meat red?

That red liquid in the meat package at the grocery isn’t blood but water and a deep red protein, myoglobin, found in red meat. It’s what makes red meat red. Myoglobin is found in mammals. It isn’t why people often discourage the consumption of red meat, not because of the color, but other issues. Studies vary. Some studies link red meat to high cholesterol levels leading to cardiovascular disease due to the high saturated fat content. Other studies show it may increase the risk of colon cancer, especially if consumed regularly and not accompanied by a diet rich in fiber, fruits, and vegetables.

Red meat has redeeming qualities.

Moderate consumption of red meat may have some benefits. It’s loaded with nutrients. It offers complete protein, vitamin B12—often missing from a vegan diet, iron, selenium, niacin, and zinc. A complete protein contains all nine essential amino acids. Some types of red meat are healthier than others. Highly processed meats aren’t the same as lean red steak or other unprocessed meat. You lose many of the benefits of red meat due to the processing, which often makes them higher in salt and preservatives.

Newer studies show that some types of white meat are better than others.

One recent study, which did not include fish, found both white meat and red meat could increase bad cholesterol levels. Chicken, usually considered white meat, is high in vitamin D. It also is high in the same nutrients as red meat. Fish, however, has a different profile, especially fatty fish. It contains a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids. It’s highly recommended on several diets. The Mediterranean diet, MIND diet, and other healthy diets all recommend at least two servings of fatty fish a week.

  • Some types of beef are healthier than others. Red meat and other animal products from pastured cattle offer more benefits for health. Organically raised pastured beef and dairy are heart healthy.
  • While both red and white meats have very similar nutritional profiles, if you need to increase iron in your diet, consider red meat. Always check with your healthcare provider, since red meat is higher in saturated fat.
  • Most nutritionists recommend a plant-based protein source at least one or two days a week and fatty fish, like tuna on one or two days, both reduce the consumption of red and white meat.
  • A large study showed that eating a minimum of 5.3 oz of processed meat daily dramatically increased the risk of heart disease and death. Unprocessed red meat consumed daily showed it didn’t increase the risk of heart disease.

For more information, contact us today at Prime Fitness Studio