Protein is one of the essential macronutrients needed to support a healthy body by fueling your muscles for growth and development while boosting your metabolism and increasing fat burning. Protein, found in a variety of foods from beans and tofu to meat and eggs, is widely considered a staple in any diet.
However, there are some sources that are more nutritious than others, and consuming certain proteins regularly can actually negatively impact your overall health, slow your metabolism, and potentially cause heart problems in the future. While all forms of protein certainly have their benefits, if you want to lose weight and maintain your overall health, you should limit your red meat intake.
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Undeniably a great source of protein, not to mention delicious red meat, it offers the body some notable health benefits. At around 7 grams of protein per ounce, red meats like steak and burgers are a great way to meet your daily protein goals quickly while also providing a significant amount of vitamin B12 and iron. “Red meat is the primary natural source of vitamin B-12 and a good source of heme iron, the type of iron your body can most easily use,” notes Ricci-Lee Hotz, MS, RDN and Expert at Testing. com.
Both vitamin B12 and iron are essential for the healthy development of the body for digestion and the production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the lungs. However, if consumed in excess, the disadvantages can outweigh the benefits of red meat.
Despite the benefits, it’s worth noting that this type of protein is often high in fat too, which can have a number of negative effects on your health over time. “Some of the dangers of eating red meat include eating high-fat cuts of meat that are high in saturated fat, an increased risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and other similar conditions,” warns Hotz. “In addition, excessive consumption of red meat can lead to an increased risk of stomach or colon cancer.”
While this won’t necessarily happen to everyone who has eaten red meat in their lifetime, choosing this protein as the primary form of protein isn’t necessarily the best choice for long-term health benefits. Not to mention red meat is harder to digest than other forms of protein, potentially causing gas and stomach inflammation.
If you are a red meat lover and not keen on the idea of completely eliminating it from your diet, don’t stress yourself. Hotz suggests consuming a maximum of 18 oz per week and adding other sources of protein on the days in between. “In general, most people can get the benefits of red meat protein when consumed about twice a month,” she says. Instead, consider increasing your intake of chicken, fish, and turkey, all of which are leaner sources of protein that contain significantly less fat, making them healthy options for the heart.
Even if you’re not following a plant-based diet, beans, tofu, quinoa, and nuts are great sources of protein that won’t harm your heart or metabolism. Hotz notes that, by and large, red meat doesn’t make much of a difference in this regard, but excessive consumption could slow your digestion and cause indigestion and other such problems.
Red meat can certainly be an asset to your diet in small quantities as it provides your body with plenty of vitamins, minerals and proteins, which can have positive effects on your health. For your daily meal, however, leaner meat will allow you to reach your weight loss goals faster while maintaining your heart health, and you will find that you can get just as much protein from chicken or even beans as you can from red meat without fear, Harming your body in the street. There’s no denying that a burger can get to the point from time to time, but as a daily staple, it’s best to stay on the sidelines.