Red vs. White Meat - A War of Nutrition

Among the different kinds of meat, red meat tends to be one of the most controversial. In this regard, we can often see blogs urging us to replace meats like lamb and beef with chicken or plant-based options.

But is cutting out red meat from your diet a good idea? And is white meat the healthier choice? This post examines some of the major differences between red and white meats.

Nutrients in Red Meat

Red meat is meat from adult mammals and includes meat such as lamb, beef, venison, horse meat, boar, and hare. Generally, red meat also refers to lamb, pork, and beef.

All meats obtained from mammals and most cuts of pork meat are red because they contain more Myoglobin than fish and other sorts of meat.

Myoglobins are the cells that move oxygen to body muscles in the blood flow. Red meat is red when it’s raw and gets dark after it’s cooked.

This darkness is due to more Myoglobin. It also has a much more intense and richer flavour. Red meat has a huge amount of iron, fat, zinc, Creatine, and B vitamins such as B12, riboflavin, and niacin.

This is also a good source of Lipoic acid. Red meat has vitamin D in fewer quantities. The iron present in the meat is called home iron. This is simply absorbed by the body when compared to the iron found in plant sources.

The vitamin B in red meat is great for a strong and healthy body, Vitamin B12 for a healthy nervous system, Vitamin B6 for a strong immune system, zinc for increasing muscle mass and improving brain health and riboflavin for skin and eyes.

Though red meat has all the important nutrients, some studies have suggested that high consumption might cause various sorts of cancers like pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, gastric cancer, and prostate cancer.

This is mainly because of the carcinogenic compounds that form as an outcome of the high-temperature grilling and cooking of red meat.

Concerns about Red Meat 

There’re some worries that red meat might have some negative impacts on our long-term health. In particular, these concerns relate to findings from nutritional epidemiology that suggests extreme red meat intake increases mortality.

Moreover, red meat has been listed by the WHO as a likely carcinogen. Part of these issues specifically relates to the high-heat cooking of red meat, and some others are about the curing procedure.

Nutrients in White Meat

White meat is meat that has pale colour before and after cooking. Typically, this includes lightening coloured meat of chicken coming from the basket.

This meat is made from quick twitch muscle fibre and includes the meat of rabbits, and the flesh of milk-fed young mammals, particularly lamb, and veal.

The definition of white meat comes into doubt somewhat as a few types of fish, such as tuna, which are red when raw and turn white when cooked, also there are some types of poultry that are identified as white meat and red when raw, such as goose and duck.

White meat is low and leaner in protein and fat content, therefore they’re considered healthy. People consume protein-rich white meat such as turkey or chicken for protein, calcium, and phosphorous which increases the health of their bones, liver, teeth, heart, kidney, and central nervous system.

This aids in the prevention of osteoporosis as well as arthritis. Vitamin B2, which is found in white meat can reduce skin issues, cracked lips, and sore tongue, and rejuvenate dry and damaged skin.

Vitamin B6 preserves enzymes and keeps your blood vessels strong while maintaining extreme energy levels. It also strengthens metabolism.

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Concerns about white meat 

Some people feel that white meat is an inferior source of nutrition to red meat. While red meat might provide more in terms of essential nutrients, is the nutritional profile of poultry so inferior?

There are several alternative definitions of what white meat is. Though poultry meats have this definition in all of them, like any meat, white meat contains crucial nutrients.

Wrapping up

First of all, every meat is nutritious and full of nutrients, protein, and other beneficial compounds. The research shows that red meat is the better of the 2 in terms of essential nutrient content, with the main benefit being the higher vitamin B12 content.

That said, the main difference between red and white meat is not as wide as a few people assume, and poultry is also nutrient-dense, and it’s typically a better source of protein per calorie too.

All in all, both red and white meat provide nutritional advantages. Though neither red meat nor white meat is the most nutrient-dense meat, that honour belongs to organ meat.


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