Is Red Meat Really Bad For You?
Most of us have grown up with the “common knowledge” that eating red meat is bad for your health. But is this really common knowledge, or a common mistake? Find out the truth about eating red meat here.
We all know by now that red meat is bad for us, right? Of course, we still eat a lot of it, but much less than we did decades ago, and when we do, we think of it as a guilty pleasure.
But what if what we’ve been told all these years is wrong? Recently, mainstream news sources have been reporting what many natural health practitioners and researchers have been saying for years – red meat is not the culprit in modern diseases and health problems such as heart disease, high cholesterol, and more.
Have we been lied to, or is there just something we’ve been missing? Maybe a bit of both, but the truth is, not all red meat is created the same. Here’s some information to help clear up all this confusion:
As far as red meat is concerned, it’s gotten a bad reputation because of its saturated fat content, but this is a myth. It’s widely stated that eating red meat causes heart disease, an association that is often blamed (incorrectly) on its impact on cholesterol levels. Yet, research has repeatedly shown that the dietary cholesterol-heart disease connection is incorrect.
For example, a 2010 study from Harvard found no evidence that eating red meats leads to heart disease.4 What you need to be concerned about when eating red meat isn’t its impact on your cholesterol levels… it’s whether the animal was fed grains or raised on traditional pasture.
I’ve often said that the differences between organic, pastured beef and that from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) is so great that you’re really talking about two completely different animals (and the same applies to other animal meats and animal products such as dairy and eggs).
In the grand scheme of all that is wrong with modern agriculture, the unnatural transition that turned cattle, which naturally eat only grass, into grain-eating ruminants is definitely toward the top of the list. CAFO cows are fattened for slaughter in massive feedlots as quickly as possible (on average between 14 and 18 months) with the help of grains and growth promoting drugs, including antibiotics.
Remember 80% of the antibiotics in the US are fed to farm animals. The antibiotics and grains radically alter the bacterial balance and composition in the animal’s gut. The natural diet for ruminant animals, such as cattle, is plain grass.
When left to their own devices, cattle will not graze on corn or soybeans. Just as in humans, poor gut health in animals promotes disease. This radically altered diet also affects the nutritional composition of the meat.
For example, when raised on a grass-only diet, levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) are three to five times higher in the meat compared to CAFO beef. CLA has been found to have a wide array of important health benefits, from fighting cancer to decreasing insulin resistance and improving body composition.
Grass-fed beef also tends to be leaner, and have higher levels of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It also has a healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats.
Unless labeled as grass-fed, virtually all the meat you buy in the grocery store is CAFO beef, and tests have revealed that nearly half of the meat sold in US stores is contaminated with pathogenic bacteria—including antibiotic-resistant strains. Grass-fed beef is not associated with this high frequency of contamination, and their living conditions have everything to do with this improved safety.
Where to Find Naturally Raised Healthy Meat
Currently, meat in supermarkets will be labeled 100% grass-fed if it came from pasture, but if it contains no label, it’s probably CAFO-raised. An alliance of organic and natural health consumers, animal welfare advocates, and anti-GMO activists are working together to tackle the next big food labeling battle: meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals raised on factory farms, or CAFOs.
This campaign, which aims to have CAFO foods labeled, includes a massive program to educate consumers about the negative impacts of factory farming on the environment, on human health and on animal welfare, and hopes to organize and mobilize millions of consumers to demand labels on beef, pork, poultry, and dairy products derived from these unhealthy and unsustainable so-called “farming” practices.
In the meantime, you can boycott food products from CAFOs and choose to support farmers who produce healthy pastured grass-fed meat, eggs, and dairy products using humane, environmentally friendly methods. You can do this not only by visiting the farm directly, if you have one nearby, but also by taking part in farmer’s markets and community-supported agriculture programs, many of which offer grass-fed meats. The following organizations can also help you locate grass-fed beef and other farm-fresh foods in your local area, raised in a humane, sustainable manner.
For more information, read the full article at RealFarmacy.com…