Red Meat & Health
Here we have a series of factsheets providing accurate information on the relationship between red meat, health and nutrition.
Meat is eaten by almost 98% of the population in the UK, with red meat a popular choice and a valuable source of protein, iron, zinc, B vitamins, vitamin D, selenium and iodine. These nutrients are acknowledged to play an important role in wellbeing yet the public is often advised to ‘cut down’ on red meat for reasons of health or to protect the environment. What does all this mean for our diets and how much red meat is the right amount?
Types of Meat
Red meat is often categorised as fresh/unprocessed or processed and this can cause some confusion.
What is unprocessed meat?
The World Health Organisation defines red meat as unprocessed mammalian muscle meat, i.e. beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse, and goat meat (both minced and frozen). British sausages and burgers would be included in this category as they are made from fresh meat with minimal processing.
What is processed meat?
Processed meat is defined as meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavour or improve preservation. European sausages would be included in this category as they typically undergo curing or smoking which alters the meat and extends the shelf life.
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Health Professional Resources
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Learn the truth about weight loss diets and why we should be eating more lower energy density foods.
Several observational studies have identified a statistical link (called an association) between high red meat consumption and development of type 2 diabetes. However, in other studies, no associations have been found, creating a lack of consistency in the evidence.
Red Meat & Cancer
Establishing a link between any dietary factor and cancer is difficult. Cancer develops over a long period of time so it is not possible to assess immediate effects of certain foods on the risk of cancer.
Red Meat & Bowel Cancer
Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers in Western countries. Here we dispel the myths between red meat and bowel cancer.
Red Meat & CRC
There is no consensus on why fresh unprocessed red meat might be linked to CRC and this weakens the argument. Theories include saturated fat intakes, inflammation and haem iron levels.
CRD & CVD
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the umbrella term for diseases that affect the heart and circulation such as stroke and coronary heart disease, which includes angina and heart attacks. CVD is the main cause of death worldwide and global death rates due to the condition are rising.
Contrary to media outlets evidence suggests that lean red meat does not have adverse effects on cholesterol levels in the blood.