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Risks of Eating Red Meat

Posted Mar 25 2009 3:20pm

An interesting study was published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine linking consumption of red meat and processed meat to an increased risk of cancer and heart disease.

The numbers are significant. Men eating the most red meat had a 31% higher risk. Women too were negatively impacted, with a 50% higher risk of heart disease. As a society, we like meat in our diet, making a study like this one worth noting. In 2007, the average American ate 63.5 pounds of beef. That’s a lot of hamburgers!

While the study could only speculate on why red meat had a negative impact, a few facts are clear. Certain cuts of meat like rib eye are high in saturated fat, the type of fat you want to limit in your diet. There’s no denying how tasty a well-prepared rib eye is. With an 8 oz. serving weighing in at 566 calories and 24.9 grams of fat alone, it’s plain to see that it’s fat that you don’t need.

The study comes with some added implications. During these tough economic times, consumers are perhaps more likely to purchase ground beef at 80% fat rather than the more expensive 93% lean. A quick,cheap lunch at a hamburger joint can ease money woes. It’s unfortunate too that processed foods like hot dogs, bacon, lunch meats, and cold cuts are cheaper. When looking to cut grocery costs, these foods might be substituted for leaner, healthier cuts.

If anything, the study is a wake up call to cut red meat consumption. A diet that includes no more than 18 ounces of red meat per week is ideal. Avoiding processed foods is also recommended. Besides, don’t you want to know exactly what you eating?

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