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The Meats for Your Diet: Healthy and Unhealthy

Discussion in 'Family Medicine' started by Sunday Flower, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Sunday Flower

    Sunday Flower Bronze Member

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    chicken.jpg

    The Healthy Meats
    When you're looking for the healthiest meat options, what you're really looking for it the leanest cuts of mean — the ones with the least fat — that you can find.

    Chicken
    Poultry is leaner than red meat and is especially leaner (less fat) if you eat it without the skin. Ground chicken breast, for example, has about 125 calories per four ounces. It's good to know that dark meat contains more saturated fat that white meat but again, the keys ditching the skin — that's where the most of the unwanted fat is. Look for free-range chicken, raised with antibiotics.

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    Bison
    Grass-fed bison meat is also leaner than any red meat while still rich in protein as well as iron, zinc and vitamin B12. A 3.5-ounce cut of bison contains about 143 calories and just 2.4 grams of fat compared to 8 grams of fat and 200 calories in a similar cut of beef. Bison also offers a solid source of omega-3 fats.

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    Ostrich
    OK, ostrich is actually poultry. But it has about half the fat of chicken per serving while still boasting around 24 grams of protein per three ounces. Ostrich also has more iron than beef, chicken and pork.

    The Unhealthy Meats

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    Lamb

    Lamb is luscious, and like most things that taste really good, it’s bad for you. It’s a red meat, and a particularly fatty one at that, which means it carries all the same risks as beef. A recent 10-year study, the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), found that people who ate red meat every day were a third more likely to develop colon cancer than those who didn’t. The culprits could be two compounds called hemoglobin and myoglobin, which are found in all red meat. Researchers theorize that the compounds react with chemicals in the gut to create cancer-causing agents.

    Damage control: EPIC found that guys (and girls) who ate 2.8 oz (80 g) of red meat a day were about 30% more likely to develop colon cancer. But even those who ate as little as 2 oz (55 g) of red meat a day had an increased risk of colon cancer. The lesson? Only eat red meat once a week, and limit your portion to about 8 oz. Any more than that and you’ll be taking an undesirable risk.

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    Beef
    You can’t beat a grilled rib-eye for pure mouthwatering flavor. But beef in general has been linked to an increased risk of cancer (see above) and grilled or charred beef (and many meats) has been linked to increased rates of prostate cancer. You just can’t win. A study by the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center found that a chemical compound that’s created by cooking meats at high temperature promotes prostate cancer in rats.

    Damage control: Eat it rare. It’s true, the compound responsible for increased cancer risk pops up most in well-done meats. Of course, you may not like rare meat. So cook it low and slow with indirect heat and avoid charring. You’ll minimize the cancer-causing chemicals that form when meats are charred.

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    (Pork) Sausage
    Sausage, specifically pork sausage, is loaded with fat. It’s also processed up the wazoo and seasoned with sometimes-suspect spices and chemicals. When it comes to meats, sausage is probably one of the worst offenders. And what’s worse, the European Food Safety Authority recently found that a red food coloring in cheap sausages, called Red 2G, could cause cancer. They’re not sure how much of the dye one can consume before things get critical, but it’s clear that it should be avoided.
    Damage control: If you’re going to eat sausage, don’t reach for the cheap brands. They’re more likely to contain cheap dye and suspect meats. Pick up a pack of premium links instead, and reach for the ones that don’t look unnaturally red.

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    Bacon
    Few people are immune to the mouthwatering smell of sizzling bacon. Bacon is, however, one of the highest-fat meats on the planet. Additionally, it’s cured with chemicals that have been linked to increased rates of cancer. More specifically, nitrosamines are to blame. These chemicals have been known to be carcinogenic in high quantities. Unfortunately, all bacon contains some of the preservative compound. But keep in mind that those preservatives are added to prevent nasty things like botulism, which is almost always fatal. Also, bacon is usually cooked at high temperatures, which causes even more of the compounds to form.
    Damage control: Lay off the bacon. Only eat it on special occasions, just a few times a year. It’s really the only way to mitigate the risk of ingesting cancer-causing agents.

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    Salami
    Salami, and other cured sausage, is probably the worst offender when it comes to meat. It’s loaded with fat and it’s cured with the same chemicals that make bacon carcinogenic. In fact, it can contain even higher doses of nitrosamines than bacon, even though it gets less press than the fatty meats.
    Damage control: Next time you’re craving a slice of pepperoni pizza, opt for the veggie instead. And if you’re craving a nice slice of salami, reach for the premium brands and check to see if the manufacturer uses nitrates or nitrosamines as a preservative. Many companies have cut the chemicals from their products altogether.


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    Balance Is Key
    It’s hard to resist good meat. Still, the best way to avoid heath issues is to drop it — or most of it — from your diet. If you must have it, however, practice moderation. Try to limit your serving sizes. Steaks should be no larger than eight ounces (tiny by American standards). Have just a few slices of bacon. And try to balance your mean consumption with fresh fruits and veggies. For every hamburger patty, gobble up an apple or a banana. This simple one-to-one ratio will keep you healthy and help to counteract the ill effects of meat.

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    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019

  2. Sunday Flower

    Sunday Flower Bronze Member

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    Thanks for reading.
     

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