Find right balance with meat

IN MODERATION: Australians on average eat too much red meat.
IN MODERATION: Australians on average eat too much red meat.

IS RED meat really that bad for you?

Eating meat seems to have been a normal part of human evolution - well at least for the last few hundreds of thousands of years.

In more recent times it has been under scrutiny and has been given a bad rap as being an unhealthy food.

There is no disputing that red meat contains some potentially harmful substances and how we cook it can really add fuel to this debate. So does this mean it really is bad for us?

We know red meat is an excellent source of protein, which your body needs to build your organs, muscles, skin and bones.

We know red meat provides us with a beautiful array of vitamins and minerals, which in this day and age we also know is lacking severely in our diets.

So why then do the experts say it is so bad for us?

One thing to consider, which has been drummed into us over the last few decades, is that animal protein, especially red meat, is high in saturated fats.

Consuming too much saturated fat raises your "bad" (LDL) cholesterol, which increases your cardiovascular risk, which in turn leads to premature death.

There have been many studies done on the longevity of humans that show those who consume limited amounts of meat have prolonged lives.

So is it then that meat is not really bad for us, but we eat too much of it?

Australians consume way too much meat.

In fact, Australians are some of the biggest meat eaters in the world. According to the Victorian Department of Primary Affairs, Australians consume an average of 110kg of meat every year.

This equates to three times more than the current national guidelines.

Some of us - I won't name names but you know who you are - are consuming a week's worth of meat in one sitting. Seriously folks, that's ridiculous.

The recommended guidelines for one serving of meat is 65-100g, and no more than three or four times per week.

So let's be clear - when you rock up for your next counter meal and think you'll have the mixed grill or the 500g rump steak or worse, "the kilo of meat challenge - get through it all and it's free", it's too much.

Back away from the counter and have another think about it.

I'm not suggesting you not eat meat. Red meat is nutritionally dense and when the consumption of unprocessed meat is in sensible, small doses it can be really good for you.

How much?

Recommended guidelines for one serving of meat is 65-100g, no more than three or four times per week

Red meat provides us with an array of vitamins and minerals

Red meat is high in saturated fats and consuming too much saturated fat raises your "bad" cholesterol

Topics:  healthy living michelle peden

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