As a health-conscious meat consumer, I've always wondered if eating red meat daily is okay.
To get to the bottom of this, I sat with my dietician to understand everything about red meat consumption and the impact its frequency has on our health.
Here's a summary of my findings.
- Every week, a healthy adult should have no more than three red meat-meals.
- Excessive consumption of red meat can cause heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer.
- When eating red meat, eat lean cuts from grass-fed animals, and remember to size your portions correctly.
How Often Should You Eat Red Meat?
You should eat red meat no more than three times a week. To help you achieve your protein needs on a 2,000-calorie diet, it is advised that you eat no more than 4 ounces of total meat daily .
Limit your meat consumption to no more than three portions, or 16 ounces per week.
Essentially, we should restrict our consumption of red meat, but there is no need to totally eliminate it from our diet.
I combine red meat with other nutrient-dense meals such as vegetables and healthy whole grains to have a well-balanced diet.
Also Read: Why Do I Crave Red Meat?
Health Risks of Excessive Red Meat Consumption
While unprocessed red meat is a healthy source of protein and other essential nutrients, eating it excessively can pose serious health issues.
Let's look at the health risks of excessive red meat consumption:
1. Heart Disease
Excessive consumption of red and processed meat has proven to increase the likelihood of heart disease development.
Red meats have a high presence of saturated fatty acids, which can boost levels of low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol), which is known to increase the risk of heart disease .
Limit red meat intake to lower saturated fats, which have also been linked to elevated cholesterol levels. Ideally, you should consume no more than 5 to 6% of your daily calorie intake from saturated fat.
This balance lowers the risk of elevated cholesterol, which can contribute to plaque development in arterial walls .
"It's advised that you choose leaner ground beef, which have less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and fewer than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams. "
- Allison Webster, Registered Dietician
Processed meats such as sausage, ham, hot dogs, and bacon play a significant role since most are treated with artificial preservatives known as nitrates.
Excessive consumption of these substances has been linked to a greater risk of colon, kidney, and stomach cancer .
3. Alzheimer's Disease
Red meat is a protein powerhouse. Too much red meat means you'll have a higher iron concentration in the body.
Higher iron levels in the brain can increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease in healthy adults .
Accumulating iron in the brain disrupts nerve fibers caused by a fatty tissue called myelin. When this happens, signal communication is disconnected, increasing Alzheimer's risk .
Tips For Maintaining Healthy Meat Consumption
While excessive meat consumption can harm your health, here are tips to help you eat red meat correctly:
- Eat leaner cuts: If you're conscious about your meat consumption, always go for lean meat. Compared to fatty meat, lean beef has fewer fatty acids per gram.
- Go for grass-fed beef: I recommend buying lean meat from grass or pasture-raised animals. Such meat has considerably less fat and more heart-healthy omega-3 acids.
- Trim well: Before cooking raw meat, use a sharp serrated knife and trim all the excess fat flecks. This is an essential step if you're using fatty meat cuts.
- Avoid processed meat: Most processed meats, like deli meat and bacon, are made with artificial additives and preservatives, which are unhealthy.
- Eat the right portions: How much meat you eat can impact your health. Strive to eat small portions and reduce meat protein foods to once per week.
What Happens if You Don't Eat Red Meat for a Week?
If you don't eat red meat for a week, you'll start to lose weight; you'll be less bloated and get better skin texture.
Is It Okay To Eat Red Meat Every Day?
No, it's not okay to eat red meat every day. You should limit your consumption to a maximum of three servings per week. This is because excessive consumption of red ground beef can cause cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease.
How Long Does It Take Red Meat To Leave the Body?
It takes two days for red meat to leave the body. The protein in red meat is composed of complex molecules that take time to break down, absorb, and excrete fully.
Is Red Meat Healthy for You?
Excessive eating of red meat harms your health because it can raise your chances of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
However, this doesn't mean you must completely eliminate red meat from your diet. Instead, you can eat healthy, lean cuts sourced from a dependable meat service like ButcherBox.
I recommend this company because they offer grass-fed meat from humanely raised animals. Their meat is also hormone- and antibiotic-free and comes in generous amounts.