Eating red meat may be good for you

Saturday, February 19, 2011

MELBOURNE - Previous studies have linked red meat to an increased risk of having a heart attack or cancer, but a new report has demolished the ‘myths and misconceptions’ surrounding the Sunday roast.

The report says that most people eat healthy amounts, which are not linked to greater risk of disease.

Modern farming methods have cut fat levels, which can be even lower than chicken, while red meat provides high levels of vital nutrients, including iron.

A review by the British Nutrition Foundation says that a vegetarian having a Cheddar cheese salad will eat seven times more fat, pound for pound, than lean red meat contains.

However, the World Cancer Research Fund, which advises people to curb red meat consumption and cut out processed meat, disputed the findings.

The 77-page review, which looks at current evidence on health and red meat, found no evidence of ‘negative health effects’.

It shows on average men in the UK eat 96g of red meat and processed meat a day and women are eating 57g.

Those eating more than 140g a day are advised by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition to cut down, as these levels are linked to disease.

There has been a cut in consumption over the last 30 years, with Britons eating less than many other European countries including Spain, Italy, France, Sweden and the Netherlands.

The review says there is ‘no conclusive link’ between cardiovascular disease and red meat, which actually contains some fatty acids that may protect the heart.

At current levels of average consumption, there also is no evidence of a link to cancer, it says.

The review says that cooking methods which overdo or char the meat are a much more likely cause of any link with bowel cancer.

“This review highlights that eating red meat in moderation is an important part of a healthy balanced diet,” the Daily Telegraph quoted Dr Carrie Ruxton, an independent dietician and member of the Meat Advisory Panel, which is supported by a grant from the meat industry, as saying.

“It also lays to rest many of the misconceptions about meat and health. People have been told they can’t eat it and they feel guilty when they do, but given that current intakes, on average, are well within health targets, there is no reason to eat less red meat if you enjoy it,” Ruxton added. (ANI)

Filed under: Cancer, Heart Disease

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