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Top Five Alternatives to Red Meat

Grilled Halibut - gudlyf | flickr

Researchers are steadily showing that eating a diet high in red meat can be very bad for your health and may in fact be a link to serious diseases. According to a recent study published in the Archive of Internal Medicine, “eating red meat is associated with a sharply increased risk of death from cancer and heart disease.”

Featured recently in The New York Times, this study was comprised of 121,342 men and women who were evaluated via questionnaire from 1980 through 2006. During this period 23,926 people from the group in question died, 5,910 suffered from cardiovascular disease, while 9,464 succumbed to cancer.

It was found that those who consumed larger (and more than occasional) portions of red meat “were less physically active and more likely to smoke and had a higher body mass index (BMI).” In fact, it was determined that daily increase of three ounces of red meat “was associated with a 12 percent greater risk of dying…including a 16 percent greater risk of cardiovascular death and a 10 percent greater risk of (death by cancer).”

In a separate study featured in the July issue of Advances in Nutrition, researchers reported a link to high levels of red meat and an increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes due to the iron in red meat. Researchers concluded, “Meta-analyses of body iron status as measured by serum ferritin demonstrate a positive relationship with the risk of type-2 diabetes.”

There are numerous others studies out there that have similar results, but I wanted to discuss these because they indicate just how bad, and potentially deadly, it can be for people with a diet high in red meat. If you choose to eat red meat, I suggest to limit consumption to one or two times a week, make sure it is lean cuts and have portion size no larger than the palm of your hand. There are alternatives to red meat that will be just as satisfying and healthier options, but remember that even these should be eaten in moderation.

My top five alternatives to red meat are:

  1. Turkey
  2. Chicken
  3. Pork
  4. Fish
  5. Tofu