Should you eat red meat? The longevity perspective
Pros and cons of eating red meat
January 1, 2021
This article was originally published on medium.com on January 8, 2020.
Reading time: 4 min
Should you eat red meat?
This is a long and hotly debated topic. Not only because steaks taste good but also because this is a huge industry. So people get emotional. I stopped being emotional about food and treat as a source of nutrients my body needs to function optimally — fibers and resistant starch (carbs), amino acids (proteins), and fatty acids (fats). This is not to say I don’t enjoy food — I do enjoy it a lot but I’m not attached to it.
Not being emotional helps you look at the foods more objectively.
So the good news is that you should eat meat. Being vegan stresses your thyroid function and puts you at an increased risk of autoimmune disease.
The bad news is that you should only eat little (ideally, 100–200g/4–8oz per week) and high quality (grass-fed and grass-FINISHED or heritage breed in the case of pork). The high quality requirement means is that it’s best to avoid steaks and burgers at restaurants — they are from grain-fed cows.
My weekly serving of red meat — 4 oz of heritage pork with bok choy, kale, arugula, avocado, and red onions
(5) Red meat tops the list of iron rich foods which may lead to oxygen deficit in mitochondria and accelerate aggregation of amyloid-beta proteins in the brain cells and formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in the cells, among other issues.
Did you know that, according to the social security mortality stats, females in the U.S. have a 3% chance of reaching 100 years old while males — a 1% chance? Part of the reason may be due to the menstrual cycles in females which decreases the iron levels in the blood. So having a lower iron level is advantageous and eating less red meat would help with that.
While iron is important in many biological functions, there are some caveats:
Low levels of iron help prevent protein glycation with sugars in blood decreasing formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs).
Pro-tip: to cover the bases of excess iron, consider supplementing with fisetin, a phytochemical found in strawberries, apples, and other fruits and vegetables with strong anti-aging benefits. Fisetin can effectively chelate iron reducing its levels in the blood.
(6) Red meat in restaurants is grain-fed.
It means that it is loaded with pro-inflammatory Omega-6 acids (because corn and grain are sources of pro-inflammatory Omega 6). In addition, cows are ruminants — they are meant to ferment plant-based foods. When they eat grain, they get inflamed themselves. That’s one of the reasons why they get antibiotics injections for most of their life. The other reason is that it boosts their growth and makes them fat, i.e., tasty for humans, but makes them struggle and more susceptible to disease. You might get some antibiotics too when you eat their meat in the form of antibiotics resistant bacteria. If you’re vegan, you’re also at risk because grain-fed cows manure is often used as a fertilizer. Not only that, according to Michael Pollan, grain-fed cows have a heavier environmental footprint because they do not need fertilizer, pesticides, and fossil fuels. So when you eat grain-fed beef, you might contribute more to the global warming. Although, there are mixed views on which type of beef produces less carbon dioxide.
But why then do you still need to eat meat?
Grass-fed/-finished meat is a great source of good fats.