Is meat good for us?
When the World Health Organisation (WHO) published their 2015 report about the consumption of red meat, it caused some consumer confusion, with parents wondering ‘is meat good for us?’
In a nutshell, the report concluded that we should reduce the amount of processed meat we consume – keeping it fresh instead, keep the size of portions to a healthy size and balance the number of times per week that we eat red meat with other proteins.
Is meat good for us regardless of whether it is fresh or processed?
Let’s just have a look at the difference between fresh and processed meat…
Red meat usually refers to beef, veal, lamb, mutton and goat.
Processed meat is exactly as it sounds – meat that is processed in ways that include adding salt, preservatives, smoking it, curing or fermenting it. Processed meat may also be ground and mixed with other chemicals, additives or ingredients, with the aim of all processing to extend the life of the meat.
Examples of processed meats include mortadella, salami, bacon, hams, sausages and corned beef.
According to the World Health Organisation, consuming just 50 grams of processed meat a day (roughly the weight of a sausage) can increase the risk of colorectal cancer by approximately 18%.
At the same time, they say that fresh, lean red meat contains nutrients that are beneficial to our health, and is an important source of protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12.
So, is meat good for us? The report recommends that as an approximate guide, around 100-200 grams of meat, three to four times a week is optimum to maximise the benefits and minimise the risks of red meat.