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Getting to the meat of great red debate
My last column was in response to a recent study that showed an increased risk of death from eating red meat. While many in the press have shined the spotlight on this story as definitive proof of red meat’s deadly toxicity, when we dig deeper we find that things are not always as they seem.
There were problems with the study. Mainly, the manner in which information was collected:
Participants filled out questionnaires about what they ate once every four years.
Also, they chose the wrong people: The meat-eating group selected to be part of the study were more likely to be overweight, smokers and exercised very little compared to the non-eating group. This is an obvious bias.
While many anti-meat eating organizations used this study as "evidence" to push their agenda, unfortunately they will be the first to miss out on the following health benefits of red meat:
• Improved cardiovascular health — Contrary to popular belief, cholesterol and certain fats found within red meat actually are protective against heart disease. Also, research has shown that when dieting, those eating the greatest percentage of fat in their diets lost the most weight.
• Increased bone density — Saturated fat has been shown to help absorb minerals, especially calcium, that can help make bones stronger.
• Healthy brain — The brain is made up of mostly fat and water. Low-fat diets can rob your brain of its vital building blocks and ironically, can decrease the signaling involved in insulin response, metabolism and fat burning.
• Strong immune system — Lack of saturated fat in white blood cells decreases the immune system’s ability to respond and recognize foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses.
Finally, when it comes to eating red meat, not all types are created equal. For example, organic, grass-fed beef, bison and wild game are very different in quality and good fat composition, compared with commercially raise beef and other processed meats.
To maximize the health benefits of red meat, make sure you know where your food comes from and how it was raised. Pastured red meat may be more expensive in the sort-term, but certainly worth it for the health benefits.
Dr. Christian Chatzoglou, D.C. is a chiropractor, writer and natural health expert.
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