Red Meat: It Does a Body Good!

beef

This article is part of a special report on Red Meat. To see the other articles in this series, click here.

Over the past two decades, red meat has been increasingly blamed for everything from heart disease to cancer. Newspapers and magazines love to plaster alarmist headlines about red meat across their front pages, but as you might suspect if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, these claims are ill founded and misleading. In fact, an impartial review of the evidence indicates that red meat is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. But before we get into the health benefits of red meat, I want to take a moment to address the growing number of studies that tarnished its reputation in the first place.

Beef. It’s what’s for (a healthy) dinner. Tweet This

I’ve talked in the past about the limitations of observational studies in general, and not much has changed: they still cannot prove causation, and confounding variables still plague even the most skilled statisticians. One of the biggest specific problems with observational studies on red meat is what’s referred to as the “healthy user bias”. Since red meat has been vilified for years in the mainstream press, people who eat less of it are also more likely to less of other foods that are actually unhealthy (i.e. refined sugar, trans-fats, processed foods, etc.) and engage in healthier lifestyle choices (i.e. they are physically active, don’t smoke, etc.). Moreover, Food Frequency Questionnaires are still a problematic way to gather data about dietary intake. (Do you remember what you ate for lunch last Tuesday? Neither do I.) Based on these factors, it’s clear that individual epidemiological studies on red meat can’t prove much of anything, and looking at the body of evidence as a whole doesn’t do much to strengthen this argument.

For example, reviews of studies on red meat and cancer have reported inconclusive results. (1) Most studies show that the data on red meat and colorectal cancer, which has gotten more publicity than most other conditions red meat is supposed to cause, is insufficient to support a clear positive association between red meat consumption and colorectal cancer. (2) If you want a more detailed look at a couple of these individual studies, you can read my assessments here and here.

And despite claims by the popular media and mainstream medical establishment to the contrary, there’s no consistent evidence demonstrating that the saturated fat found in red meat significantly raises blood cholesterol levels. What’s more, large prospective studies involving almost 350,000 participants have found no association between saturated fat intake and coronary heart disease (CHD) or cardiovascular disease (CVD) (3).  In fact, one large study almost 60,000 Japanese women found an inverse association between saturated fat consumption and stroke: the more saturated fat participants ate, the lower their rate of stroke. (4) As most of you probably know, there’s much more to the cholesterol story than just “LDL = bad,” so rest assured that including red meat in your diet isn’t taking you one step closer to an early grave.

I think it’s safe to say that red meat has been unfairly blamed for the ills of Western society. But in case you still have doubts about ordering the steak, here are some more reasons red meat is actually an extremely healthy and nutrient-dense choice:

B Vitamins

Red meat is a rich source of vitamin B12, which is vital to proper functioning of nearly every system in your body. B12 deficiency can play a role in everything from aging, neurological disorders, and mental illness, to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and infertility. Red meat also contains significant levels of other B vitamins, including thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folate, niacin, and vitamin B6. It’s crucial to get these vitamins from whole foods sources, rather than relying on government fortification of processed foods, and red meat is one of the easiest ways to ensure adequate intake.

Vitamin D

For people who don’t eat a lot of oily fish or receive a lot of direct sun exposure, red meat can contribute significantly to their overall vitamin D intake. (5) Red meat also contains a vitamin D metabolite called 25-hydroxycholecalciferol, which is assimilated much more quickly and easily than other dietary forms of vitamin D. In populations with low sun exposure, meat has been shown to be protective against rickets, a degenerative bone disease caused by severe vitamin D deficiency. (6) Interestingly, consumption of milk with the same levels of vitamin D does not provide this same protection, indicating that the vitamin D in meat is uniquely absorbable and useful to the human body.

Iron

Red meat contains primarily heme iron, a form that is absorbed and utilized much more efficiently than the non-heme iron found in plant foods. (7) Furthermore, even small amounts of meat can aid in the absorption of non-heme iron. For people with iron overload conditions like hereditary hemochromatosis, it’s probably best to limit high-iron foods such as red meat, but for most of the population – especially those with iron-deficiency anemia – the iron from red meat is beneficial. This is particularly important for women who are pregnant or looking to become pregnant, as iron is crucial for the growth and development of the fetal brain.

Other Minerals

Red meat is an especially important source of zinc, because the other rich sources — organ meats and shellfish — are much less commonly consumed in our country. As with vitamin D and iron, the zinc present in red meat is highly bioavailable, and even a small amount of red meat in the diet can increase zinc utilization from all sources. (8) Zinc is an essential mineral that is an imperative part of many physiological functions, including structure in certain proteins and enzymes, and regulation of gene expression, and those eating meat-free diets are at greater risk of zinc deficiency. (9) Finally, to round out this impressive nutrient profile, red meat contains significant levels of other vital minerals such as magnesium, copper, cobalt, phosphorus, chromium, nickel, and selenium.

Why red meat trumps white meat

Some of the benefits I’ve mentioned thus far are not unique to red meat, but apply to animal flesh in general. For example, levels of B vitamins, vitamin D, and most of the trace minerals are just as high in white meat as in red. (10) However, red meat does have significantly more b12, iron, and zinc than white meat, and those things alone are enough to set it apart. Where red meat really shines, though, is in its fatty acid profile.

The fat of ruminants comprises approximately equal parts of saturated and monounsaturated fat, with only a small amount of polyunsaturated fat. (11) The unique ruminant digestive system ensures that these proportions stay relatively constant, regardless of what the animal eats. This makes red meat a better choice than pork or poultry for those that cannot afford pasture-raised meat, because you will still be getting mostly saturated and monounsaturated fats.

I hope this post has clarified some of the reasons that red meat is such a lauded food in the ancestral community. It’s full of highly absorbable nutrients, and it’s a better choice than pork or poultry if you can’t afford pastured meat. If you were scared of red meat before, maybe some of your fears have been allayed, and if you weren’t, you can feel even better about digging into your grass-fed burger (without the bun!) tonight.

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Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Mark says

    Amazes me people still hold onto old/false beliefs like that. Let’s not take a look at what is done to the cows beforehand, let’s just bash an actual food. SMH

  2. Fiona Weir says

    My problem is that red meat, especially lamb, always makes my osteo arthritis worse, so I stick to chicken,
    fish and shellfish. Any ideas why this should happen?

    • imppress says

      Arthritis is hypothesized to be an autoimmune disease. Autoimmunity hurts because of chronic inflammation. Read on…

      http://www.drmirkin.com/public/ezine110908.html

      Dr. Varki proposes [a] theory. When humans ingest the flesh or milk of any mammal, they absorb Neu5Gc and treat it the same way as an invading germ, so they make antibodies against it. This turns on their immunity and keeps it active so it eventually attacks the host itself, the human body. This is called chronic inflammation, which can lead to heart attacks, strokes, cancers and so forth.

      Neu5Gc is found in high levels in tumors, with the highest levels in metastasizing tumors. In our food supply, Dr. Varki found very high levels of Neu5Gc in beef, pork, lamb and goat, and moderately high amounts in milk and cheese. Low levels are found in turkey, duck, chicken and eggs; and negligible amounts occur in plants and seafood.

      End article sample.

      Neu5Gc comes from mammal meat. Do tumors collect Neu5Gc like Amyloid plaques in Alzhimer brains collect Aluminum or is there causation involved? Jury’s out, but caution is STILL warranted.

      • Cathryn says

        imppress,

        If this theory is valid, why do so many people, myself included, experience the onset of autoimmune diseases when they shun red meat and go vegetarian? And why do they experience improvement when they start eating animal products again, including red meat?

        • says

          Cathryn,
          Agree with you, many of my customers are former vegetarians.
          Fiona Weir,
          The following post re osteoarthritis was intended as reply to you re your experience.
          Re reference to red meat and breast cancer. I find this impossible to believe. Tribes around the world followed big game ruminants and their modern descendents in the form of cattle to the ends of the annual greening around the world with what are now known as the essential fatty acids including Omega 3′s in balance with other fats, even more prized than the lean muscle meat. Incidence of breast cancers were unheard of until modern sugar/grain based processed foods introduced. Evidence appears to indicate that 750mg omega 3′s daily protects for many cancers and inflammatory diseases of body, bone and brain.
          Latest evidence Canadian indicates this includes breast cancer.
          http://primaldocs.com/opinion/omega-3-fatty-acids-directly-prevent-breast-cancer/

          • says

            Further many tribes and beef eating people ate the equivalent of up to 2lbs of red meat daily.
            Modern grass fattened beef to Canadian AA or US low choice fat content tests over 200 mg per 100g. Omega 3 in 6:3 ratio balance over only a little over 1to1 in the ground beef. This is roughly 1000mg per lb. and 3/4 lb daily gives all the recommended Omega 3′s for optimum health.
            Most active persons, living naturally, eating grass fattened red meats would easily exceed this amount. The average consumption in all western and other modern societies with the epidemic of modern disease, is as I understand it less than 300mg Omega 3 per day, out of balance with omega 6 at 20 to 1. This imbalance all comes from the so called vegetarian meats, ie grain fed and processed grains/oil seeds. Chris is right but vested interests will continue to confuse and muddy the waters, especially with our human trait of indulgence and to follow the pie-eyed piper or believe industry spin.

          • mike says

            “Incidence of breast cancers were unheard of until modern sugar/grain based processed foods introduced.”

            For your statement here, the key words are “sugar” and “grain”. Cancers love sugar. But, just curious, what does this have to do with red meat?

            • Lila says

              Cancer was unheard of? Do you even know where the word ‘cancer’ comes from? It comes from Ancient Greece. People back then had expereinced cancer, many Ancient Egyptian mummies were found with cancer cells. Even Hitler’s mother died of cancer.

              Just because people were ignorant of medicine and didn’t know how to properly define diseases, does not mean there was any less cancer than there is now.

        • Fred Nerx says

          Unofrtunately, an error in this discussion occurred right at the start – Fiona refers to osteoarthritis which is primarily due to damage from mechanical stress, insufficient self repair by joints and decreasing water content of the cartilage. Inflammation may occur when breakdown products from the cartilage are released into the synovial space and the cells lining the joint attempt to remove them but the inflammation is usually mild compared to that in rheumatoid arthritis which IS an autoimmune disorder.

        • Richard says

          The mind is a powerful entity and you have convinced yourself that you do better on red meat despite all the good evidence that shows animal product protein in large amounts is not healthy.
          Why not look at some of the longest living and healthiest cultures for your information? There are none that are large red meat eaters!

      • Fiona Weir says

        Thanks, Imppress, and others who’ve mentioned my name. The lead to Dr Varki seemed to fit me very well, including avoidance of milk and milk products (I try ewe’s-milk cheese occasionally because I like it but always get a headache). I eat white fish but also try to get my Omega 3 from salmon, trout, sardines, etc.

        My ancestry, by the way, is only partly Scottish, my great-granfather having come from southern Italy, and my inclination is towards a Mediterranean diet with plenty of virgin olive oil. Unfortunately I find I’m better avoiding the gluten in wheat, so it’s wholegrain rice instead of pasta. I seem to need plenty of carbohydrate as I’m very underweight: I’m sure you experts will tell me I’m doing it all wrong – my own GP just says ‘eat more’, but, typically seems to know very little about diet (some years ago she said I should have a little glass of wine for my elevenses and a a salami sandwich!)

    • says

      Fiona. I would recommend you eat less inflammatory ‘muscle meats’, and choose proteins that are less inflammatory. Too much muscle meat is problematic, leading to thyroid suppression, inflammation and stress. Muscle meat is high in the inflammatory amino acids tryptophan, cysteine and methionine.

      Choose white fish, shellfish, liver, dairy, egg yolks and more of the gelatinous cuts of meat (or get some Great Lakes Gelatine, which is anti-inflammatory). If you do eat meat, you could have some bone broth on the side to balance the amino-acids. You also need to balance your protein intake with calcium (I get mine from dairy and powdered eggshell). Also the source and quality of the meat you eat can make a difference. As they say, ‘What’s your diet’s diet?’.

      Polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) content should also be considered. Chicken meat contains more unsaturated fats than beef and lamb. Fatty fish has larger amounts of PUFA, making white low-fat fish a better choice.

      :)

      http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nature-Rules-OK/293050197428854

    • says

      I may be wrong but your name indicates a Scottish UK border ancestry, The land of the ‘Riding families or Border Reivers, These people lived off meat and milk and were superb horsemen when Julius Caesar invaded over two thousand years ago and his legions tried to conquer according to his writings. I therefore find very difficult to believe red meat is your problem unless you are not getting enough fat. From my research, Sperm whales, beaver , white mice and cattle have a unique anti- arthritic fat called Omega 5 in the fat profile. This is supposedly a straw coloured liquid fat, similar to anti-inflammatory Omega 3′s which forms just below the solid fat on cooling bone broths made only from marrow/ knuckle beef bones, Other than cattle the other sources are not generally available or appealing. My mother ended up in a wheel chair for almost 20 years with osteo arthritis, whereas father lived very healthy well into his 90′s before falling and braking his hip and giving up. Both were from the same genetic stock and ate the same for over 60 years, except mother developed a sweet tooth and believed margarine was.healthy. This caused great argument as father refused to eat the margarine or eat modern chickens from the 60′s on. We ate mainly lamb and beef and wild pheasant in season. We had beef of some form daily but not too much pork except bacon because he and many other shepherd/ stockmen believed too much pork caused strokes. When I was diagnosed with arthritis in hip and knee ten years ago I was told I had a genetic disposition to it because the same doctor had attended to my mother years before. I refused to accept this and began researching, realising that my mother had the biggest sweet tooth of my relatives and suffered the most. My wife had also developed arthritis in her hands and had eased the pain by stopping taking sugar. I did the same and me wife re discovered bone broths, regularly eating them with vegetable beef soups weekly. Within a few weeks my pains disappeared and I am healthier than in the last 15 years. After the fact while still researching I came across the omega 5 anti-arthritic discovery evidence of Harry W Diehl who patented his discovery in the 1970′s. I credit this with the reversal of my arthritis and believe it would have helped my mother. Hope this helps

      • Fiona Weir says

        Beefeater
        I’m told that long before the days of the reivers, all the inhabitants would have lived on the coast and survived on seafood – I’m sorry I can’t give you a historical reference except my brother-in-law’s hearsay, and it’s all a long time ago!

        • says

          Fiona Weir
          1. It is my understanding that the tribes of Briton lived on meat and milk according to the writings of Julius Caesar Pre 56 BC. well over a 1300 years before the Border Rievers era.
          2. Archeological evidence indicates humans were big game hunters (Ruminant cattle equivalents) over a million years, and got our brains before learning to catch fish. According to the science we have been eating fish in any amount for about 20,000 years and domesticated cattle about 10,000 years ago. There is some evidence from archeological digs of milk being consumed in Briton about 5,000 years ago.
          I cannot find if lamb has the arthritis curing Omega 5 fat and it would appear not. I know for a fact that tests on our grass fattened beef show it is in the fat profile of out door fattened cattle also high in vitamin’s A,E,D and K plus omega 3′s.
          The following link may help. Arthritis can be reversed and at least pain free. Good Luck.
          http://www.rejuvenation-science.com/cmo_overview_zimmerman.html

      • Valkyrie says

        What great information, Beefeater. Thanks for sharing. I’m definitely getting into bone broth soon. It’s highly advocated by the primal/paleo lifestyle. :)

    • mhikl says

      Fiona, have you ever looked at Dr Peter D’Adamo’s book on blood types. Being an O blood, lamb and beef make me feel very good when I consume them but pork and chicken don’t seem to do much for my sense of health or wellbeing after a meal.

      Lamb and other red meats are not on the list of healthy or even neutral foods for people of the A blood group but are claimed detrimental. Chicken and certain fishes are indicated as neutral for this type whom, D’Adamo claims, are better off as mostly vegetarian.

      What a complicated exercise is this table game!

    • Timmay says

      When meat and other dead and cooked things are digested it turns acidic..acid reflux kinda thing. It puts some acid in our lymph and would change the Ph of our blood but that would end in death, so.. your body needs to take proteins and calcium out of our bones and tissues in order to balance the Ph of our blood.. so that we dont die when we eat stuff. that may or may not have something to do with pain in your bones. :D

      • Valkyrie says

        Actually, the real problem is sugar and gluten. Sugar is highly carcinogenic and gluten is inflammatory. Meat provides vitamins, minerals and the healthiest source of fats in comparison to all the processed crap people eat in an attempt to avoid animal products. If the problem was meat, Steve Jobs wouldn’t have died of pancreatic cancer. He was fruitarian, full of lovely, all-natural super foods.

    • Elizabeth Mark says

      The ill effects are not from the red meat itself but from what they feed the cows. Have you tried grass fed?

      • Nuno says

        Exactly,

        Just like a carnivore you should eat your meat from a savage kind of state, living in the wild, or at least from a animal raised in a organic, natural grass , chemicals, pollutants free and eat it almost raw. I drink raw cows milk and raw organic egg yokes, i believe you nerd animal products in your diet, but GOOD animal meat

    • Tupac Shakur says

      When the body eats certain meats excess uric acid is produced which makes inflammation of the joints worse.

    • says

      Fiona wrote “My problem is that red meat, especially lamb, always makes my osteo arthritis worse, so I stick to chicken,
      fish and shellfish. Any ideas why this should happen?”

      Yes, Fiona, I can answer that. It’s because red meat (or any other dead flesh) pollutes the body and is VERY bad for you. People who believe this foolish article may pay a big price for simply believing anything they read.

      • says

        Dear Carl,
        Red meat and dead flesh, is vitally beneficial for good and optimum human health as shown by results in vegan versus omnivorous living, fundamentally, considering only minimally and necessary processing.
        I’ve been through it all, fundamental veganism is not healthy for me as a whole diet,.. it needs animal products, and not just eggs and milk, but flesh and such also, red meat being most vital in some cases, red meat being most healing as a food, in some cases.
        Fruits and vegetables are important and beneficial as well.
        Prudent Omnivorism.
        And, btw, alcoholic beverages are also healthy in moderation as prudently desired, not for getting drunk or ‘off’. It’s just just good and healthy as one can readily feel and sense.

      • Dawn Carroll says

        Carl…I would look at other foods you are consuming…like grains if you eat grains especially wheat…all wheat…
        One year I was offered a cheap source of feed supply that was wheat middlings. I fed my piggie herd the wheat soaked water for 24 hours, alfalfa hay, and pasture.
        It is when I went to wheat as my grain base that I started having piggies develop arthritis and go lame.
        My piggies are not on cement either in fact they were free ranging coming into the barn to escape summer heat, to get fed, and to sleep.
        Other problems I had feeding wheat was birth defects, small litters, odd sized litters, and piggies that were not producing.
        Then there was the joint problems and the lameness issues. I had none of those problems before adding the wheat. It took 6 months of not feeding wheat until the herd went back to normal.
        No more arthritis, birth deformities (cleft palets, deformed hind legs, huge babies, extra small babies) no more problems just by eliminating wheat from their diets.
        I have done my best to eliminate anything but single ingredient foods to my own diet. Nothing bagged, canned, frozen, processed, no commercial yogurts and I consume raw cows milk. I can’t drink the processed milk but I can drink it directly from the producer.

        • Jo says

          Dawn Carroll,
          That is very interesting, and thank you for posting this information about your piggies.
          At our house, we drink raw milk, and eat meat from animals that are pastured and grass-fed. I do believe that what the animals eat is very important.

    • Joel "JC" says

      I recently got sciatica, ostensibly from a falling injury. My x-rays showed osteoporosis and osteoarthritis! Oy! However, due to my own research and email from a friend, I was aware that, among other minerals, especially calcium, potassium, and magnesium, boron plays a very important role in calcium-magnesium metabolism, and lack of it is claimed to be causative of arthritis. Because of industrial farming practices the deplete or block boron uptake from soil, general human populations, especially in industrialized nations, do not get enough boron in their diets. Israel is naturally high in boron, and the Israeli population has less arthritis than most populations on Earth, less than 1%, compared to 20% in the US, England, and Australia! Please read this article, decide for yourself:

      http://loveforlife.com.au/content/13/06/27/borax-conspiracy-how-arthritis-cure-has-been-stopped-walter-last

      The article describes how boron reverses negative processes that cause arthritis, and then arthritis is healed.
      I have been taking borax as described in the article for only a month, and am already noticing benefits, especially the disappearance of a bony growth on my finger (calcium in the wrong place), less sciatic pain (I am also stretching), improved sexuality, and improved general well-being. Boron is important in many important processes for every part of the body, and therefor for overall health. I couldn’t walk upright without pain two months ago. Now, while not totally pain free, it has greatly reduced and I am playing tennis again. I recently began eating a large tablespoon of dark molasses every day. It is a healthy sweetener usable as you would use sugar, without the bad effects of sucrose! It is very high in critically important mineral content for strong bones and also general well-being.

      I have one idea why eating lamb would increase pain. It is probably related to some mineral or enzyme or other component of lamb that is higher than in other food sources. If I eat a lot of lamb, my lip herpes comes out, probably related to arginine. I take lysine and eat high lysine foods, and it goes away! Good luck with your arthritis. I’ll keep you posted on my progress. I’d love to hear from you about anything you wish to discuss.

      • Joel "JC" says

        Add silica to the list of important minerals for bone strength! It is available from other sources, such as cucumber, whole grains like brown rice, and beer (from the hops). This info was from James, who moderates this blog conversation.

    • Shirlee McCourty says

      Always amazes me how natural food gets bad press and we are encouraged to eat food such as margarine (which is basically chemicals ) rather than real butter. Real meat, fresh vegetables and fish. We should stop stuffing our faces with processed food.

    • Fiona Weir says

      Chris
      I’ve no idea where my local butcher (long retired) was getting his meat from but between, say, 1970 and 1980 but I suppose farming methods here in the UK were better than they are now, i.e. that it may all have been pastured. In restaurants it was very popular to eat Aberdeen Angus steaks and I they were supposed to be very high quality, i.e. again pastured. Lamb was my worst enemy: that as most likely to have been pasture fed.

      I can’t answer your question, and if I were to experiment now I doubt I could afford the best pastured meat!

      • says

        Hi again Fiona,
        Late sixties on barley beef was introduced and Angus was the breed of choice crossed with continental breeds. Therefore you Angus beef may not have been grass fattened depending on what area of UK. Bull beef from the Dairy herd was introduced about this time. This was because of cheaper grain and most British breeds, put on hot rations of barley became ‘butter balls’. I was in Northumberland until 1974 and the argument amongst old stockmen grazier’s was that the grass fat was where all the good was and the grain fat was like pigs. too much caused stroke. The ancestral wisdom of these old stockmen is now being proven in many respects by modern science.

      • Nuno says

        Hi fiona,

        There is a BIG difference between heavy commercial grown cattle and selfsustained fields in wich cattle thrives. And cooking the meat at very high temperatures using margerines and just simply cooking for a short time so the meat is rare.

        Now, just imagine the Difference In cooking a grain fed piece of meat full of antibiotics, anti inflammatory and vaccines on margerine and a steak from a grass fed, chemical free on the grill just over raw.

        I think that is the difference between meat that is good for you and the onde that is not.

  3. says

    Great post! There’s no point vilifying such a nutrient-dense food. I’ll gladly enjoy the venison roast I have in my crockpot today tonight.

  4. David says

    Once in a while I hear that raw beef is healthier than cooked beef. I am not sure but I think Mat LaLonde PhD at one point ate raw beef. What are your thoughts on that?

    • Brad says

      I would at least cook the outside and leave it rare on the inside. That kills any potentially bad critters living on/near the surface while minimizing oxidation internal nutrients.

      • Joel "JC" says

        And before the e-coli infestation of hamburger meats, in the 50′s and 60′s, I used to lick the raw hamburger from my fingers while I was making burgers! Again, I remained healthy! I wouldn’t do it now!

  5. Ray says

    Chris- I find it hard to get grass fed meat where I am. I always try to not eat conventional feed lot but sometimes I just think its better than chicken. Is the feedlot stuff really that bad?

    • says

      Ray- Grass fed meat is definitely better. A high grain diet slowly poisons the animal, killing off the runem bacteria. It’s like taking steroids; weight increases quickly, but the meat ends up energy rich and nutrient poor. The confined contitions allow no excercise, which causes the muscles to lose condition, hence the soft texture of the meat and the anitbiotics they are pumped full of linger on in the meat.

  6. says

    I used to eat mostly pasture raised chicken and occasional pastured beef. Now I’ve reversed that

    Chicken isn’t even interesting anymore. And white meat is boring

    Been going through your podcasts one by one too now Chris. Glad to have found you

  7. says

    This is my big question since starting to eat whole foods/almost paleo. We only eat chicken and seafood because of what we were told after my father died from colon cancer at age 52. His father (my grandfather) also died of colon cancer at age 48. Those are some serious genetic risk factors. My grandfather is one of 6…3 died from some form of cancer young…3 are living still in their 80s. My aunt is a cervical cancer survivor. I feel like I have a 50/50 chance of cancer before 55…I am chicken to risk anything. Though I remember my dad once diagnosed ,was recommended adding Psyllium to his diet, and now studies show it is liked to colon cancer increase…GAH! Science is frustrating!

    • Raphael says

      Grass-fed meat also contains CLA fat which is a better omega balance and prevents cancer in mice…

      • Stabby says

        You don’t even want to concede that cooking it at high temperatures can form carcinogens and that this practice might contribute to the overall red meat risk? The epidemiology for grilling and well-done meat is very strong, I think that this obvious mechanism could at least justify the advice to watch how you cook it. It would end up weakening the anti-red-meat position though, because we could say that general epidemiology on it is unimpressive and that if people use lighter cooking techniques then there is even less risk.

        • BaloneyIsMyFirstName says

          That would be true regardless of what you cook: white meat, veggies, etc. I don’t think Chris is ignoring that point.

          • Stabby says

            The point is that there is an extensive body of literature on the subject of red meat, cooking techniques and cancer risk, and he has clearly stated that he knows of no mechanism that could possibly link red meat to colorectal cancer risk. When you modify cooking techniques you modify your correlation, we can then state that one possible mechanism is the carcinogens formed from cooking. I guess it would require actually reading most of the research on the subject.

          • Stabby says

            And that other foods may be harmful when cooked harshly is also besides the point, 1. People might be doing this to red meat far more frequently. 2. Vegetables and white meat benefit from the healthy user bias, grilling them is probably bad, however the issue as hand is the argument over red meat and cancer. My post was pointing out a critical component of the pro-meat argument: the increased cancer risk could be largely explained by a subset of red meat eaters who tend to use high carcinogen cooking techniques. This explains some of the association but isn’t an argument against red meat per se, only cooking it improperly. Confounding factors like associations with harmful foods not controlled for is probably important too. What is important to do when dealing with epidemiological arguments is to find as many possible explanations for an association besides “X food is inherently bad and we must reduce its consumption”, trying to falsify the hypothesis and weaken the argument.

            • Kurt Harris says

              In the Iowa Women’s Health Study, the strongest single risk factor for breast cancer was consumption of barbecued meat. The hazard ratio was 5 – five times the risk with the most barbecued meat consumption. I agree that red meat, especially grass fed, is not only a safe but healthy and desirable food. But eating red meat that is overcooked or barbecued – the favored technique of adding sugary barbecue sauce “helps” a lot – may well contribute to cancer risk. If people were to always carbonize their fish with a glaze of sugar, that might not be too healthy either, but I don’t know anyone who does that the way people do with barbecue. It’s definitely not healthy to breathe smoke, and not healthy to eat a lot of it either.

              Grass fed hamburger baked gently into a meat loaf or cooked into a chili or stew is probably better than cooking over a healthy flame.

              Colon cancer risk can be mitigated with plenty of soluble fiber consumption augmented by adequate phytochemicals and……..aspirin.

      • Apocryphon says

        Chris, You’re not exactly up to date on the studies.

        “The risk associated with specific red meat subtypes depended on the animal of origin and cancer subsite; thus, the risk for colon cancer was significantly elevated for higher intake of lamb [IRR(per 5g/d) = 1.07 (95% CI: 1.02-1.13)], whereas the risk for rectal cancer was elevated for higher intake of pork [IRR(per 25g/d) = 1.18 (95% CI: 1.02-1.36)]. Substitution of fish for red meat was associated with a significantly lower risk for colon cancer [IRR(per 25g/d) = 0.89 (95% CI: 0.80-0.99)] but not rectal cancer. Substitution of poultry for red meat did not reduce either risk. This study suggests that the risks for colon cancer and potentially for rectal cancer differ according to the specific red meat subtype consumed.” – From the highly respected Journal of Nutrition, February 20, 2013: Associations between Red Meat and Risks for Colon and Rectal Cancer Depend on the Type of Red Meat Consumed.

    • Beth says

      Danielle, my father died of colon cancer at the age of 52 as well. While I avoided meat for a long time thinking this was the best thing I could do, I now understand that colon cancer is related to refined vegetable oils, hydrogenated oils and sugar. I eat grassfed red meat with the knowledge that it contains a potent cancer-fighting nutrient CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), not present in corn and grainfed meat, along with all the other nutrients discussed above.

      • says

        Thanks for the responses. It has been hard to make the switch back. I am still unsure. This is what my siblings and I have been avoiding for the last 8 years since he past. There is so much conflicting information out there. It is hard to know the truth, the motives behind studies. I just watched forks over knives the other day, and that China study stuff is frightening as well. When my dad was diagnosed he was told No Meat at all…or at least only organic chicken…I am leaning towards moderation and balance.

        • Brian Klein says

          Have you read Denise Minger’s followups to Forks Over Knives and the China Study? She lays out a lot of good information that challenges some of the information presented. A simple google search will help you find them easily.

      • James Kennerley says

        Avoiding meat still is the best thing you can do. While the risk of conditions like colon/bowel cancer are not exclusive to meat-eaters, eating red meat does significantly increase your risk. Modern studies all seem to be coming to the same conclusion – red meat is directly linked with many conditions and diseases and higher mortality rates. As I said in my original comment on the thread, apples don’t clog arteries and carrots don’t cause heart attacks. Red meat is dangerous. Fact.

        • says

          Believe historical evidence and the natural world proves you very wrong. Plant eating ruminants(cattle-red meat) are a very necessary part of the carbon cycle. In fact down through the ages it can be argued their domestication resulted in civilization, allowing sustenance through winter or dormant growing periods needed by all plants for renewal. Through their manure(BS of value, not yours) they return Co2 from the atmosphere, back into soil fertility, whereas cropping or vegetarianism, volatilizes and adds to our problems.
          Down through the Annals of recorded history, grassland/ cattle husbandry and their manure have been used to prevent desertification and restore fertility lost through short sighted cropping practices.
          In fact in some cultures cattle are kept primarily for sustaining fertility. Written records from Roman Britain in the first century indicate about 2.8 tons of Farm Yard Manure are required per acre, annually, to replace any human edible crop harvested. In India 2% of the worlds land mass supports well over 20% of the worlds cattle. Yes 700 million people don’t eat the Holy cow but really worship what passes through them, for their housing, cooking and soil fertility/ composting needs. Another 400 million eat them and in fact India is now the worlds biggest exporter of beef.
          Also the recognized first input/output economist Francois Quesnay produced a chart proving agriculture was the source of all wealth(1755) and later (1767) as series of maxims for a sovereign nation. Maxim 14 states; favour the multiplication of cattle for their manure provides the richest of harvests. This is provable as true today as when written. Unfortunately he has been somewhat discredited by vested interests touting partial truths to obscure the whole. These type of truths you obviously believe. I just hope your are not health challenged before a self evident truth is realized.(see Schopenhauer, stages of truth).
          Finally it is no accident that Grass fattened Beef has the best balance of essential nutrients and is a complete food for heart, body and brain. There has been an increasing flood of peer reviewed, double blind studies verifying this lately. Such beef contains all essential nutrients in perfect balance for optimum human health, in heart/body/brain function. The ground beef of such classed at 70% lean, has roughly 20% calories from muscle cuts and 80% calories from fats. This is higher on average than most fish, with the marrow fats and some cuts including organ meats as high as wild cold water oily fish, salmon, herring, mackerel etc.
          This kind of diet has been proven to aid in the treatment of an increasing number of autoimmune diseases and has been known since the 1920′s to be beneficial in treating epilepsy. More recently it is being touted as beneficial for MS and other gut/brain problems when supplemented by green leafy vegetables high in sulfur such as members of the brassicas or cabbage family. Interestingly the carotenoids and plant antioxidants, eaten by the ruminants in the field are much higher than in the modern domesticated human edible vegetables. In fact such beef, depending on the cut, can be estimated to be 30 to 100 times the concentration of the best of nutrients in plants. This stands to reason because in nature the beef concentrate these nutrients into their flesh and fats and provide predator species, including humans with the suns growth, stored in their fats, to carry us through long winters.
          It is all simple logic that has and is providing me(along with many others so enlightened down through the ages) with a healthy life into my 70′s, with according to my Doctor, the blood work of someone in their 30′s.

    • Bill says

      I’ll wager that all your relatives ate bread and flour products. I believe that gluten/gliadin are the main causal factors of cancer and most degenerative/autoimmune diseases.
      You may have genetic risk factors. Probably you are susceptible. Eliminating grains and minimizing sugar would be my humble advice. That’s in line with Chris’s doctrine along with all his other good advice.

      • says

        we are already gluten/dairy free….grain free basically…eating whole foods…nothing processed. The red meat has been my difficult decision.

        • Bill says

          Well Danielle you’ve ticked all the boxes then!
          Our ancestors ate red meat, hunter gatherers in Africa eat red meat and colon cancer is rare if at all. I eat grass fed lamb and beef. Lamb’s hearts and liver are the cheapest and probably the most nutritious. Grass fed beef is more expensive and for me regarded as a treat occasionally.

          You can only do so much and then you have to hope for the best. The longer you stay with your current regime, the better your chances of avoiding cancer. That’s my way of thinking. Only time will tell.

    • Lisa says

      Danielle – cervical cancer is not genetic. Virtually all cervical cancer is caused by the human papilloma virus. There are rare cases of cervical cancer related to an anti-nausea drug used during pregnancy in the 60′s, but other than that, it’s because of HPV. Of course, most humans that are sexually active are exposed to HPV, so that doesn’t mean you’re not at risk for cervical cancer. It’s just not due to genetics. Best way to prevent cervical cancer is to get regular pap smears to look for signs of cell dysplasia and catch them early.

    • Joel "JC" says

      My father died of colon cancer at age 53! He ate what was thought to be a healthy well-rounded diet for the day. Because of this, I succumbed to “health advice” and stopped eating beef. At 63 I still got a heart attack! I remembered that, as an artist using oil paints, my father warned me not to breath the benzene he used to clean his brushes. Benzene is on the known carcinogen list! I’m now of the opinion that benzene caused his cancer, not his diet! Now, at 70, I have begun to enjoy beef again, as well as dairy with the fat. I play tennis. My weight is within guidelines for health, at 168lbs on a light boned 6’1” frame. When I had my heart attack I weighed 215 lbs! It was from sugar intake, and mostly physical inactivity; not beef or other meats!

    • Raphael says

      I just watched that video and I was blown away… I have been moving towards raw for a few years now, I put raw eggs in my smoothie as well. I made salmon in lemon and lime juice the other night… Really yummy!

    • Joel "JC" says

      PLEASE DISCUSS SALMONELLA CONTENT IN RAW EGGS!
      I always get the runs when consuming raw or undercooked yolks (possibly whites as well).

  8. Laura Babbitt says

    Chris, A specialist a family member saw for an autoimmune disorder recommended reducing stress, large doses of curcumin and pepper, and reduced red meat consumption. I don’t see this addressed above, but have you examined the evidence that red meat is more inflammatory than other protein-rich foods? From my reading, I’ve concluded that it is more important to eliminate high omega 6 oils than restrict red meat to reduce inflammation, but I’d value a more informed opinion.

    • Chris Kresser says

      No, I don’t think there’s any evidence that red meat is more inflammatory than other meats. On the contrary, red meat is likely to be less inflammatory than other meats because of it’s superior fatty acid profile — as I mentioned at the end of the article.

      • Laura Babbitt says

        Thank you, Chris, I drew the same conclusion from red meat’s fatty acid profile. It is frustrating to hear from trusted medical professionals that red meat is inflammatory, when logic dictates otherwise, and no proof is offered. It is especially confusing when accompanied by other information I believe to be true, i.e. reducing stress and the curcumin. I still feel uncomfortable contradicting the advice given by that specialist, so I will instead recommend asking for evidence on that point. If any is forthcoming, I will share it here.

      • Joel "JC" says

        I have a question about eating raw eggs! Every time I undercook egg yolks, and I guess undercooked whites as well, I get diarrhea! I don’t cook eggs sunnyside up or soft boiled anymore. I always assumed it was from the salmonella in eggs! I am not known to have any allergies, and my colon is normally quite good; no leaky gut or inflammatory bowel conditions. I always ingest some form of probiotics, for 45 years! My diet includes a moderate amount of fiber from fruits, veggies, and brown rice. The ONLY time I get diarrhea is when I try to undercook my eggs! I love runny yolks; CAN’T EAT’EM! DO YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS?

  9. David says

    Hi Chris, I’m really enjoying the articles!

    Do you feel eating red meat is essential?

    I eat fish twice each day, typically salmon and tuna but sometimes catfish or shrimp. Pastured eggs and lots of pastured butter (cultured). Otherwise a primal diet with fruits, veggies, nuts, and potatoes, but also white rice. I don’t eat packaged foods, seed oils, etc. I haven’t eaten red meat or pork since 1998. Haven’t eaten fowl or consumed non-butter dairy since 2008. I ate vegan from 2008-09 before returning to fish, eggs, and butter. Drinking even pastured cow milk gives me severe mind fog. About to experiment with goat’s milk and cheese. And my goal this year is to begin eating mussels weekly.

    Given all that, is there something I would be missing from red meat, outside of variety?

    Also, two years ago I convined my wife to move from a strict vegan diet to one that includes clams and mussels every day, plus some pastured eggs and coconut oil. Thoughts?

    Thank you so much for all you’re doing. And thank you so much for the article on mercury in fish. I knew that stuff but I didn’t have a good place to send people who tried to argue it with me!

    • Chris Kresser says

      No, I don’t think it’s essential. Many healthy cultures ate only seafood and shellfish (Kitavans, for example). Clams are actually higher in B12 than beef liver. Most of the nutrients in red meat can be obtained from other foods.

      That said, the point of this article is that there’s no (nutritional) reason to avoid red meat.

      • David says

        Thank you, Chris. That’s sort of what I figured but sometimes there’s such a push for grassfed beef in paleo circles and I feel like I’m missing something.

        It’s been so long since I ate beef that while I’m sure I could learn to again it doesn’t smell apptezing anymore. And many people’s bacon obsession mystifies me. But maybe all the saturated fat I get from butter and coconut satisfies that craving.

  10. Rossana says

    I just went to my doctor’s (OB) for my yearly exam. My cholesterol came at 220 (I am a 52 yr young female), my doctor told me that it was very high! And asked me what I was eating, (We’ve been Paleo/Primal for a year this Feb). When I told him he said that everything that I was eating was wrong!!
    Especially meats and eggs, no more he said. “You need to eat beans, lentils and whole grains”. No way I will go back to that! I couldn’t argue with him he just didn’t want to hear me at all :(

    • Colleen says

      Sorry to say but time for a new doctor! If you want to learn about cholesterol in addition to what Chris has on his website, check out the 9 part series at the eatingacademy.com. Perhaps even better (and more succinct), check out Dr. Tom Dayspring on youtube. He has been lecturing on this subject for decades. He is an awesome teacher and favors a paleo or low carb approach (would never be recommending the grain approach). He did a couple interviews around December, 2012 with a guy running a gym and that will explain everything you need to know about cholesterol and how to determine whether you have any concerns. The 220 number really doesn’t tell you what you need to know, and as Dayspring explains is really outdated. Good luck.

    • gibson says

      Rossana, I had a similar thing happen. My cholesterol jumped up to 245 and I brought my number down to 189 by my five-month recheck by eating avocados for fiber. I told him I didn’t do grains, but I could see that was a concern, so I don’t talk about food at all with him. If asked directly, I answer protein, vegetables and fruit. We carry on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. :) Remember, your doctor is working for YOU and you’re in charge.

      • Beth says

        Rossana and Gibson, please give your doctors this list of books on the cholesterol myth. There’s no shortage of good information on this subject, and you would be doing them and their patients a favor.

        The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease-and the Statin-Free Plan That Will, by Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, and Stephen Sinatra, MD, FACC (2012)

        Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You, by Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD (2009)

        Know Your Fats : The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol, by Mary Enig, PhD (2000)

        The Great Cholesterol Con: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About Cholesterol, Diet And Heart Disease Is Wrong!, by Anthony Colpo (2006)

        The Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It, by Dr. Malcolm Kendrick (very humorous intro) (2008)

        Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health, by Gary Taubes (2008)

        The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy that Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease, by Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD (2000, 2002)

        Ignore the Awkward: How the Cholesterol Myths Are Kept Alive, by Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD (2010)

        Fats That Heal Fats that Kill, by Udo Erasmus (1993)

  11. Lacey S says

    I’ve been hearing a lot about red meat being inflammatory. Can you address some of those accusations? A friend of mine who has joint problems was told by her doctor to stay away from red meat because it causes inflammation in joints. Is this true?

    • Stabby says

      I don’t think that it’s necessarily inflammatory, but it could be in some cases. There is no evidence that red meat contributes to higher fasting inflammatory markers unless it is overcooked http://www.pnas.org/content/99/24/15596.full (note, they are focusing on AGEs but it might not be the AGEs contained and might be the heterocyclic amines. Still, lower heat cooking techniques are probably better). http://jn.nutrition.org/content/137/2/363.long http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17413093 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22170364 It really hasn’t been well-studied, but controlled trials haven’t shown any obvious effect on fasting inflammatory markers.

      However there is one study where it increases fasting inflammatory markers, though depending on what you do you might be immune (look for the highest ranking post) http://paleohacks.com/questions/160751/inflammation-from-red-meat/160774#160774

      • Chris Kresser says

        I’m aware of this research but I’m still not convinced one way or the other. I’ve talked with Mat LaLonde about the fact that eating AGEs is much different than endogenous AGE formation. This is a complex subject, as you know, and I think we need to be careful about drawing conclusions from epidemiological and mechanistic studies. That said, I do agree that it’s probably best to favor low-temp/wet cooking methods for this and other reasons (ease of assimilation/absorption).

        • Stabby says

          Yeah I’m not convinced it’s the AGEs either, it could be the heterocyclic amines, all they’re really doing is cooking the food at high temperatures and labeling it as a high AGE diet. But low heat cooking techniques still produce a lot of AGEs and seem benign. So it is probably something else. Still I think that it’s very likely that high heat cooking methods are harmful, whereas moderate ones are not. Heterocyclic amines detoxification can be modified many ways though, so who knows? I’m still not grilling without a good marinade.

  12. says

    “Where red meat really shines, though, is in its fatty acid profile.” If, and only if that cow was pasture raised, grass-fed before you ate it; as opposed to being corn fed. The fatty acid profile in grass-fed cows is predominantly Omega-3, anti-inflammatory, whereas the fatty acid composition of grain/corn fed cows is predominantly Omega-6, pro-inflammatory, disease causing arachadonic acid

  13. says

    Pleased to see someone is checking out the whole picture and beginning to get past the partial truths of food industry advertising mind control. Beef is best and especially cold season grass fattened ‘fat of the land’ which ancient logic always held to be the best. Science is now proving this and if cold water fish is good then beef is better all round for our brains. They developed from eating the big game equivalent of cattle, allowing the brains to catch the fish. We cannot continue to deny history and the laws of nature and expect to sustain our health. There is evidence already that in the last few decade our average IQ has declined 8% or more( see ‘thought for food’ evidence to UK parliamentary enquiry circa 2009?)
    Beef bone broths are a cure for Osteoarthritis and many ills. Full of all the precursor’s for glutathione, the bodies most perfect antioxidant, as well as all essential nutrients in perfect balance for body, bone, and brain. I have been collating the evidence for years and the health attributes of cool season grass/ high carotenoid vegetation(not grains) is irrefutable, but I am a foolish grassland beef farmer of an almost extinct species. Birds have crops and gizzards designed to eat grains not like ruminants, designed to fatten on grasses etc to get through the winter and in turn get us through it the further we are domicile from the tropics . Connect the dots folks, grain fat beef is still much healthier than other meats. A fish pill is al it takes to balance the omega 6:3 ratio. Still I prefer nature’s answer, not to mention the carbon recycling of pastoral ruminant husbandry

    • Kate says

      Just an f.y.i. – there is recent research (which of course I cannot easily find now that I’m trying to look it up) that adding fish oil to a diet heavy in pufa can be very unhealthy. The body ends up overloaded with these fats, rather than “balancing” out the ratio. Chris’s site here has a recent, comprehensive article about fish oil, too, which I found useful and interesting.

      • says

        Kate, please see above. The ancient beefeater ration used to be a little over 2 lb.per day. Modern science (Penn State optimum heart health study) indicates a little over 2lb per week or 5.25 ounces daily is best for heart health. Good grass fat beef has about 1000 mg per lb Omega 3 in the ground and much higher in some cuts. Per 5.25.oz serving the average difference in ground beef is 150 to 250mg.higher than grain fed. The average fish pill contains about 150mg. Recommended daily allowance-750mg.(Micheal a Crawford et al ) Therefore about half a lb. of good grass fed beef daily and a serving of sardines weekly does the trick. Before someone says this is excessive it is still less than the North American diet of all meats with chicken going from about 20lbs per capita to over 70lbs, heading for 90 lbs. at the expense of beef over the last 50 or so years. This so called healthy white meat may well turn out to be a real problem as it has become a grain derivative, very high in Omega 6 and totally out of balance compared to 50 years ago. You have to eat 6+today to get the same level of Omega 3 as 50yrs ago (24mg. compared to 170mg. Crawford) and 17 to get the same amount as in one wild cock pheasant. I believe the study about fish oil being unhealthy relates to trying to balance out unhealthy pufa omega 6 contained in a diet high in vegetable/ corn oils and not related to animal based sources but artificial processed so called healthy oils, which in my opinion, should only be used in engines, not of the human or animal species.

      • Jesse says

        I have found that, for myself personally, fish oil seems to cause a bad reaction in my skin. I don’t know if this is just me but a teaspoon of Carlson’s leaves my face itchy and feeling inflamed with some acne showing up later. Allergy? Autoimmune-type reaction? I have no idea. But if I eat fish that isn’t a problem. Just a caveat that fish oil may not be a solution for everyone and perhaps isn’t so great after all. 2¢.

    • says

      Than you Laura and Chris, I have lived long (passed allotted time, 3 score and 10) and healthy. The prosper bit has been illusive since BSE (mad cow) 2000 miles to east, south and west, but will return again as the truth again becomes self evident.( Arthur Schopenhauer, three stages of truth) Started out in pastoral agriculture when the self evident truth in all such communities was to eat beef daily (Almost universally grass fat), fish weekly and all else in moderation. Have suffered through the ridicule stage of truth and now transiting the violent opposition stage locally, and believe through articles such as this; that I will live long enough for the truths of nature to again be self evident. For many years I smoked heavily into my late 50′s and stopped cold turkey because of peer pressure and 3 day flue. I then became addicted to see food and eat it, becoming obese and developing arthritis until ten years ago and Mad Cow trade restrictions caused intensive research into all things beef. Re-discovered that father, and many generation before were right, that we evolved eating the ‘fat of the land’, because of seasonally fat ruminants (beasts of a thousand hills) now mainly represented in modern grass fat beef. Also re-discovered benefits of beef bone broths, eating raw egg daily and half raw liver weekly together with some form of beef daily. Result, arthritis gone, lost some weight without trying, general health best in 15 years, excellent improved blood analysis, with low triglycerides etc and Doctor of many years astounded despite extreme financial stress due to BSE fallout and untended consequences of government policy locally. I now rarely eat chicken or pork, corn, sugary foods etc but eat at least 6 to 8 ounces of beef daily as do all very healthy children and grandchildren. We are very fortunate in this respect. We have been retailing our beef for ten years and have many health challenged customers reporting benefits. Anecdotal I know, but all these people cannot be wrong and I have come to believe beef with high carotenoid, cool season vegetation, i e. carrots, onions, cruciferous vegetables ( all with omega 6:3 ratios less than 4to 1) are best for temperate/ cold winter zones. After all we evolved following the herds of history to the limits of annual greening before domestication and pastoral agriculture. With reference to the fish pill to balance out grain fat beef, it is to balance the higher grain feeding induced Omega 6 which science now indicates is a problem.

      • mhikl says

        Beefeater, save the use of onions and garlic, word for word my life has followed the lines you outlined. Yes, anecdotal, but it is from this that ancient, tried and trusted Grandma Laws were made. My younger siblings and older sister do not have the skin and health that I have. My twin has diabetes and will not listen to reason that it can be reversed. A younger brother has the onset of dementia but his wife, a nurse, thinks I am nuts- I don’t necessarily disagree but in crazy some great ideas have come forth- think the fool in King Lear.

        Muster on my friend: and point on garlic and onions- there are reports that they are poisonous. One claim is that in WW I, German soldiers rubbed their bullets in garlic as a hit was as good as dead. I mused over the idea that surely chefs cutting themselves whilst slicing garlic would have died but then thought maybe a cut would bleed profusely and wash away the danger. Whatever, there are interesting opinions on the subject to be found and I am not particular to either and have never experienced any purported benefits from their ingestion.

    • Lou says

      I found this recipe online. It is great for a lymphatic cleanse:

      Immune Broth Recipe

      Nourish and strengthen your immune system with this potassium-rich broth to powerfully repel disease.
      • This immune broth recipe provides you with plant chemicals (phytochemicals) that both help fight and help prevent disease.
      How and when to use:
      Consider this broth as a daily tonic to prevent flu and colds all winter long. If someone already has been hit, consider it as part of your treatment for flu, colds, sore throat, or any illness.In addition, consider the other healing tools we list.

      In my family, we had some of this almost every day during last winter. Once a week or so we would cook a double batch.

      When it wasn’t a cup or two on the side with dinner or as a snack, we used it:
      • to cook hot cereal in the morning,
      • to cook rice or lentils or
      • to add to stews or other dishes.
      • as stock for soup
      Ingredients:
      6 shitake mushrooms,
      1 reishi mushroom,
      1 ounce maitake mushroom,
      6 pieces astragalus root,
      1 piece kombu,
      4 carrots,
      1 large yellow onion (skin and all),
      1 bunch parsley,
      1 gallon distilled water.
      (Important to use disilled water, not tap or filtered or bottled water, in order to get the full benefit of the high potassium in the broth.)

      About the mushrooms:
      Fresh mushrooms are much more potent than dried.. The Whole Earth Center in Princeton almost always has fresh shitake and maitake. Reishi are difficult to find locally, but we get dried reishi from Mountain Rose Herbs. You can also make the broth without reishi.

  14. says

    Thanks for the article Chris. Can a healthy person safely assume you are getting an adequate balance of micro-nutrients if you routinely eat beef 3-4 times per week, along with wild caught salmon 3-4 times per week, eggs several times per week?? (And of course, it would be remiss to forget that other solo macro-nutrient category of bacon.) If a person can’t make that assumption can you please reference a reliable source which identifies the suggested consumption ranges for the micro’s? I do recognize there are a variety of plant sources too, but I tend not to count on 100% bioavailability in plant sources. Once again: Thanks

  15. Donna says

    So what is your take on the newest Mediterranean diet study done in spain and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which once again finds for a low-fat (especially red meat) diet plus the usual lots of fruit and veggies, olive oil, etc.?

    • Chris Kresser says

      It only found that a Mediterranean diet is associated with better health outcomes than a standard diet, which isn’t surprising given what’s standard. That doesn’t necessarily impugn red meat or saturated fat; it could very well have been (and likely was) other aspects of the “standard” diet that increased the risk of CVD.

  16. mhikl says

    “Healthy User Bias” HUB! Yes, it is the HUB of the problem. I have been aware or at least had my suspicions about this bias for years. Vegan and Vegetarian studies compare against the typical SAD diet, lumping all meat eaters into the fold, so to speak. These people lie, they never question their food religion whilst I find Paleo people are always willing to look at their experiences with more open eyes.

    From my own ‘personal bias’ I have tried to be honest in my studies and have tried Atkins, Eat Right 4 your Blood (O) Type (practically Atkins for me), all the low carb diets, and finally Ornish. I do well on all things fat and protein from animals and put on weight, gang busters, on Ornish, following his book to the T, forgoing all fat and oils with a 3oz (100g) piece of lean white fish or chicken breast for supper. I gained forty pounds in four months (& I ate sparingly) and my triglycerides and cholesterol went through the roof from acceptable to dangers, such that the doctor wanted to put me on statins. I tossed prescriptions and freebees into bin on the way the the car.

    I returned to my usual Atkins, incorporating the rules from D’Adamo’s O blood diet and, Bob’s Your Uncle, I lost the weight gained, but more importantly, my specs went to fabulously safe and healthy. It took me a long time to lose it all as I was still cheating on ice cream, chocolate and nuts and beer. Sainthood is not in my genes, my friends.

    I now follow a mostly raw Paleo, Ketogenic high fat (70+%), moderate protein, (20+%) ultra low carb (<10%) with carbs coming from celery, broccolies, bell peppers, Kale, Spinach and the occasional apple or blue berries. Strangely, I no longer like beer and only imbibe the occasional Scotch and the occasional (month or so) run on ice cream or chocolate. I feel so good on this plan and only occasionally lightly cook hamburger to have on a slice of Besan-Tapioca-Rice bread. I am nearing my BMI weight for legally not-fat but I don't even believe in that kind of nonsense. And my specs continue to be amazing (Tri- 0.9 mmol.L and Chol <4.3 with higher HLD and low LDL – for what they are worth).

    And here is the strange part: my hip pain was excruciating since1981, when I tore something whilst living in Borneo away from mod med, to 2000 on D'Adamo and then moderate pain with limp progressing until I went true Paleo 2012, Jan. Now I have rarely a limp and I can walk kilometres and still have no pain. Can bone regenerate? The doctor in 2000 for statins had sent me to the cancer clinic for the hip bone scan. Someday I will have another scan to see.

    Now if only my eczema would totally go away. I am making my own Logo's Iodine (I2 + KI) as a wash and to imbibe, Sweet Almond Oil rub down, MoM Bicarbonate Magnesium drink + Magnesium Chloride skin rub + 15g Vitamin C in MoM daily drink. Things are looking up.

    Namaste, and care to all sentient beings across the universe, which is not expanding but constantly self generating and renewing. :)

    • Lou says

      Some people are saying they cured eczema with aloe vera capsules. I had a small spot and used carrot seed oil (a few drops) in the bath. Also, a dermatologist gave me some Vanos cream. I think I applied Burt’s Bee’s carrot seed cream on there topically too. Gone!

  17. says

    Hi Chris,
    Your statement that the proportion of saturated to monounsaturated fats remain relativley constant regardless of what the animal eats only applies to pasture fed animals. Ruminant bacteria are affected by high acidity in the gut generated from grain digestion. So animals which are finished in feed lots effectively have their gut colonies slowly poisoned as the grain ration ramps up. Numerous studies have shown vast differences in not only the fat profile but overall nutrition of pasture vs. feedlot meat. Animals in feedlots are also pumped full of antibiotics etc to stave of infection from waste build up and large numbers in confined conditions.

    • Chris Kresser says

      I have covered the benefits of pasture-raised meats several times in several different places. I didn’t want to include it here because the point of this article is that red meat — even conventional red meat — is not associated with poor health outcomes. Certainly I advocate choosing pastured meat for numerous reasons (including the superior fatty acid profile), but even conventional meat has not been shown to cause cancer or heart disease as is often claimed.

      • mhikl says

        I can’t get pastured meat at the moment, but I think our meat in Alberta does not have a lot of corn base feed in it.- at least in the finishing round. And I get it from a Chinese butcher on the two butcher days of the week. And the Chinese (Jews and Muslims) are pretty particular when it comes to wholesome foods. For example, I only buy my veggies from a Chinese grocery and the vegetables stay fresher longer in outside the fridge than what comes from large grocery chains. (My rule of thumb for value of truth or not is: a) if the grocery store refrigerates it, store in the refrigerator; b) otherwise keep separated in brown paper bags in a dark but airy environments. Blame granny for that one.

        Also, the chickens from my Chinese grocer are huge and grown locally which suggests they are not quick turn over grown. Frozen Pacific Pink Salmon is very inexpensive (55-56¢ pr 100g) and definitely Paleo pure. No farmed Atlantic Salmon, thank you very much.

        Chris, you are the first I have seen who has blatantly come out with the fact that regular meat may not be the best, but it is at least better than the fodder that is sold as packaged goods. We, who are Paleo, must at least try to make the best of what we can afford and find.

        Here’s an off topic point, Chris. I use a passive structured water unit that has improved my skin tremendously. The ultra fine horizontal lines on my palms have plumped up and my skin does not stay sunken when pressed in now. I soak all my meat in the structured water (and then pat-squeeze dry) and it is claimed structured water will heal or exclude the damage to meat and vegetables from pesticides and additives. I know I have seen health benefits from using the water in my shower, drinking, soaking of foods and in cooking. This might be an interesting topic for you to review. (I am not so sure about electrically alkalised water.)

        (I have examined a number of palms from young people in their twenties and was amazed many have the same thin horizontal lines on the palm below the thumb I suddenly found when I turned sixty a year ago.)

      • Jake Ivey says

        Chris,
        So commercial meat from feeding lots don’t cause cancer. That’s good news. We know, however, commercial red meat contains antibiotics & hormones, among other undesirables, such as GMO feed.
        Well, I’m on your side. I want to believe that consuming red meat is at least OK, in the sense that it’s not harmful. And the chief question here concerns commercial beef.
        It’s an important question. Most of my patients, for example, either don’t have access to or can’t afford grass-fed beef. Some have access to deer, and a few to local beef, but other alternatives are as expensive as grass-fed.
        So what guidelines, in terms of consumption, would you recommend for them, when it comes to beef?
        Thanks.

        • Jake Ivey says

          Sorry, that post really wasn’t clear.
          The question should be, for those who can’t afford or don’t have access to grass-fed, local, or other desirable beef, and have to rely on the less expensive commercial beef from commercial feeding lots, what consumption guidelines would you recommend for them?
          Put another way, how would the recommended consumption guidelines, of grass-fed beef and ordinary commercial beef, differ?
          ~~~

  18. says

    Chris,

    Apart from hemochromatosis, I also caution my readers to be careful with iron-rich foods or supplements when battling a case of gut dysbiosis as pathogens will use the iron to grow. This isn’t the red meat’s fault, of course, but the consequence of having an active gastrointestinal infection.

    Many people have experienced relief from their gut symptoms after I tell them to temporarily lay off the red meat. Of course the goal here is clearing up the dysbiosis so they can resume eating a healthy, nutrient-dense food full of the great things you mentioned in your post plus taurine, COQ-10, carnitine, and in the case of grass-fed beef, conjugated linoleic acid.

  19. Keerthi says

    I’ve been meaning ask this question for a while now so I could make choices at the cafeteria at work. This timely post clears everything. Thanks so much.

    so basically,
    grass fed beef > grain fed beef
    grain fed beef > commercial poultry meat

    • Keerthi says

      Can you also let us know which one is better between the following choices.

      1. farmed salmon vs organic chicken
      2. farmed salmon vs grain fed beef
      3. grain fed beef vs organic chicken

  20. George says

    Hi Chris,
    What about the iron in red meat if you already have cancer? Doctors say to avoid red meat because the iron tends to progress cancer cell growth. Is there any efficacy to this?

  21. Keerthi says

    Chris, sorry had to ask this again. I’d really appreciate your response. I got a few questions for you in a aptitude test kinda format :P

    When eating out and given the choices as follows which one would you choose?
    As in which meat is better (or lesser evil) in each pair.

    1. farmed salmon vs organic chicken
    2. farmed salmon vs grain fed beef
    3. grain fed beef vs organic chicken

    Thanks
    Keerthi

  22. Johnny says

    good article chris i like reading your information and debunking myths!, dr mercola is another who writes good informative articles.ive been doing a diet based around protein, low carb, low sugar, fruits, nuts and limited dairy for 4 months and have lost 13kg. i have red meat once or twice a week and love it, i always feel content after it and usually east it with some vegetables, my cholesterol is fine and never felt better.
    i dont understand why “some” doctors or so called health experts bash red meat and animal fats yet will in some instances have the hide to promote polyunsaturated oils, hydrogenated oils, whats their agenda, to keep us ill?

  23. says

    The way i see it is there are two main components to eating healthy and it’s all about getting as much nutrients as you can. Having monitored my micronutrient intake it has become apparent to me that green vegetables provide one side of your total nutrients needed, and meat the other. The rest is just a filler really apart from maybe nuts. I have also noticed that red meat definitely gives you more bang for your buck than white meats and I gravitate towards that. But lets not forget oily fish are also great!

  24. Paul says

    In context, the term “red meat” seems synonymous with beef. This year I’ve been eating elk and pronghorn, having enjoyed successful hunting seasons. Is there research suggesting such wild game consumption compares favorably to grass fed beef, or is the difference negligible?

    • says

      Paul,
      Wild big game if seasonally fat compares favorably with at least to our fat grass finished beef, generally over 200mg per 100g. (see Dr Mark Hyman’s presentation on Paleo diets and MS). and home page of lindenleas.ca. According to Dr.Hyman’s presentation grain fed beef averages 46mg. and grass fed is only 61mg. This all relates to the omega 3 level but I have data indicating levels about 80mg. for both grass and grain fed with the grass fed omega 6:3 ratio in balance, but with the grain fed being 5 times higher in omega 6 on ground beef sampled at that time. I suspect that the data Dr Hyman has compiled relates to average grass fed.
      I suspect this is because many grass fed are not fattened to grade standards and are not grass fat. All the good stuff is in the fat profile of the properly fattened animal. It is buyer beware and know your farmer because no amount of certification schemes regarding feeding process can correct. The proof is in the final product and misrepresentation is a problem until a simple litmus type test is developed, correlated to the Omega 3 level/ratio.

      • Raphael Brickman says

        Can you send the link to Mark Hyman’s presentation that you mentioned, I searched on Youtube and found a part 2/7 video, but could not tell who was speaking…

        • says

          I am on road with no access to computer but you should be able to open link to Mark Hyman presentation if you go to our website home page : lindenleas.ca and the link is just above a chart re omega3′s in difference ruminants. I found the whole video interesting. Hope this helps.

  25. Beth says

    I find this subject very interesting. I was born and raised in Argentina where red meat is a staple. Lunch and dinner always included red meat, usually barbecued over coal. I never met anyone with cancer while I lived there and have asked all my family members whether they even knew of anyone – the answer was no. The beef in Argentina, however, was fully grass-fed and we picked out all our cuts at the butchers where the entire cow hung in the cooler in full-view so that we may pick which part we wanted. Chickens were butchered after we chose the one we wanted for our meal. Granted this was during the 60′s and 70′s and from what I’ve read, things may be starting to change but, nevertheless, it makes a compelling argument, in my view. In my opinion, this society vilifies entire food groups without looking at the way they are raised, handled and amended. Hopefully, we can cure ourselves of this terrible habit.

  26. Perry Rose says

    I read the same article a few weeks back, Impress, and then did some research on my own.

    And, Cathryn, it’s not “theory.” It’s a fact.

    And there are other things that cause an autoimmune disease (stress, lack of sleep, diet, mood swings. . . .), so you saying that you and other experience an onset even though you don’t eat beef and you are a vegetarian really doesn’t mean anything.

    And there are a whole slew of vegetarians who think they eat healthy, but they don’t. They just think they do, and that they are, because they are a–vegetarian.

    Now, is Neu5GC really harmful? Who really knows. Maybe we can take it in small doses–who knows. . . .
    Is Chris assumptions about meat correct?

    Who knows.

    But if I was a betting man, I bet that it does more harm than good.

    (And who are these tribes that eat that much meat a day and there is a record of fewer or no diseases among them??? Whomever say that, how do THEY know? Did they go there to observe???)

    I can only hope Chris is right, though.

    But for every health article that comes from a legitimate source stating that something is good for us, there is another stating that it isn’t.

    It’s like: What the hell!

    Remember when they said eggs and butter was not good for us?

    All I know is that I like meat, and I will continue to eat it.

    I’m not a health nut, nor do I really watch my diet all that much (I love McDonalds!)–I just have to make sure not to eat that much beef, while eating plenty of greens, watch my stress level, drink plenty of water, exercise, and get enough sleep to compensate the bad–or not bad–foods I eat.

    • says

      Perry – I too by nature, am a doubting Thomas, who, by living in nature, instinctively scan the horizon, look for the crows and signs that tell me what is happening, allowing the gifts of memory, imagination, experience and thought to determine the truth and the truths of the experience of others.
      Cathryn put it very succinctly in her reply to Impress, who did not and specifically quotes the good Doctor’s THEORY. (Dr. Varki proposes [a] theory.re NruG5 etc.)
      I have spent many frustrating years collating the evidence supporting the position of Chris and his conclusions are more right than many but I am just a beef farmer and could not know.
      I suggest if you want the truth, exit the artificial world, giving yourself the opportunity to be bitten, or kicked and live with nature through a full season and many truths will be revealed

  27. Perry Rose says

    Hey Chris.

    In addition to Imppress’ post on Neu5Gc, which is a fact that it starts inflammation in many (not all) people, I forgot to include that Greg’s post on March 2 is a great reminder that, “too much muscle meat is problematic, leading to thyroid suppression, inflammation and stress. Muscle meat is high in the inflammatory amino acids tryptophan, cysteine and methionine.”

    But then again, one wonders how much is too much. . . .

    But, of course, this doesn’t affect all of us.

    Some are just “born lucky”

    Bastards! :-)

  28. Malori Tinsley says

    This is a good argument to WHY red meat is good for you. And I argue this point a lot. But, I keep getting the run around of “well you can get those nutrients from vegetables.” And I agree, you can. Do you have any information on nutrients in veggies compared to red meat??

  29. Fiona says

    Healthiest I’ve ever been in my life is since going vegan 8 years ago… Worst I ever felt was eating red meat! Sorry but i just don’t see how red meat can EVER be healthy…Plant foods contain enough iron and protein … Look up Dr McDougal and Dr Neal Bernard for some truths about healing on a plant-based diet.. We are herbivores!

    • rob says

      Look at you teeth. They are not the teeth of herbivores! A vegan diet may prove helpful as a very short term, detoxifying solution for some people, it can never and will never prove to be a valid way to long-term health else there would be at least one traditional culture that practiced it successfully with multiple generations of fertility, healthy children, and degenerative and chronic disease free people demonstrating it’s positive effect.

      Such a culture did not and does not exist.

      • Jim says

        You do have herbivore teeth actually.
        - Herbivore’s teeth are flat edged i.e. like human teeth. Carnivores are long, sharp and pointed, suited to ripping meat from the bone.
        - Carnivores do not have molars, herbivores do.
        - Herbivores jaws move sideways to allow chewing, carnivores do not. Carnivores do not chew meat, they swallow it. Their digestive tracts are also much shorter so that the meat passes through quickly before it starts rotting in their guts.

  30. Onur says

    Dr Gabe Mirkin oftentimes suggests decreasing red meat consumption in his newsletter, he wrote saturated fats in red meat blocks insulin receptors and he also wrote monounsaturated fats in fruits, whole grains and vegetables have been shown to unblock insulin receptors. He doesn’t give references and doesn’t answer questions(at least mine).
    I wonder what you can say about red meat blocking insulin receptors…
    Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge

  31. Robmeister says

    I’m in pre-season training for a body building show next May. I intend to gain 7kg by Jan 2014, before I diet down over 16wks. I’m eating approx 200grms of steak 3 times a wk along with chicken everyday to achieve my 300gms of daily protein. The consumption amount of red meat is primarily to gain the weight. I intend getting a full set of blood tests done now, then again in Jan 2014. If it’s any use to you I can send you both reports

  32. Jim says

    Red meat is not “rich in vitamin b12′. Not any more anyway. Modern farming methods have eliminated most of the bacteria from the soil that produce b12. This means you are probably b12 deficient even if you eat red meat.

  33. West says

    Why are people taking nutritional advice on red meat from a licensed acupuncturist?!

    According to nutritional researcher and professor emeritus T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. (http://nutritionstudies.org/board/dr-t-colin-campbell/); medical doctors Neal Barnard (http://www.pcrm.org/media/experts/bios/neal-barnard-md), Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. (http://www.heartattackproof.com/about.htm); registered dietitian and licensed nutritionist Jeff Novick (http://jeffnovick.com/RD/About.html) and many other doctors, researchers, and nutritionists; beef is harmful due to animal protein, saturated fats, and cholesterol. Beef promotes various cancers; arteriosclerosis; heart attacks and stroke; diabetes; and other maladies.

    In America, anyone can have an opinion, but we should still be governed by facts. Learn the facts about how a plant-based diet (vegetables; legumes; whole grains; fruits) without added oils reduces or eliminates the above-mentioned health problems and leads to a healthful weight. See, e.g., the books My Beef With Meat and The China Study.

    • says

      West: in any free country anyone can have an opinion, we hope is governed by the facts, and not selected partial truths as you cite. As legumes, grains, sugars have become increasingly introduced by industry to the consumer, brainwashed by vested interests, inflammatory disease has increased 10 fold or 1000% as causes of death over the last 100+ years. During this period we have gone from eating mainly ruminant grass fed meat mostly in the form of beef, to mainly grain fed meats, mostly in the form of chickens, together with arable cropped grains and legumes. Don’t believe me, simply check causes of death in the late industrial era pre 1901 compared to today. You will find that age adjusted deaths today from heart disease and cancers alone are over 60% compared to less than 6% when most ate butter, unpasteurized milk and beef was the preferred center of the plate meat. These are not selected facts but looking at the whole. Hope you continue healthy and keep an open mind. Remember the old adage, ‘ there are non so blind as those who will not see’.

      • Fiona says

        Beefeater et al.

        I’m no scientist and I don’t know whose pinion I should believe. However, if we go back to pre-1901 we have to take into account many other factors than the food we eat, such as pollution. Yes, for instance, there was smoke from fires and the filth that produced, but they didn’t have to cope with
        particulates from motorcar exhaust pipes. It is extremely difficult to aportion death rates to particular causes, including diet: we need to be very careful about what we read into statistics.

    • Phil says

      Finally… somebody I agree with. I too follow Dr.’s T. Colin Campbell, Barnard, Esselstyn, Novak, and Dr. John McDougall.
      I believe in the not too distant future studies and research will confirm that these doctors are on the right path. The beef and dairy industry is worth billions and this knowledge is not profitable to them, not to mention the pharmaceutical industry. The western world is sick and obese, and cancer ridden, and so many people cannot accept that what they’ve been eating all their lives is killing them.

  34. Jodie says

    (Sorry if this has been covered elsewhere, there’s just so much paleo info to go through I’m getting a bit overwhelmed. It’s all interesting!)

    Wondering if anyone knowledgable about a paleo diet can help me out here. I’m considering trying a paleo diet, but do you think it’s possible to get enough good fats when you have an allergy to red meat? I became allergic through a tick allergy 3 years ago, & get hives all over (have only have one instance, haven’t had it since as the immunologist said to stay off it, the reactions may get progressively worse – the allergy was confirmed by a blood test).

    I have had years of excessive gas, plus bad bloating in the last year, & my diet was very high in refined carbs & sugar when I was younger. I had an endoscopy a few months ago which showed inactive gastritis, no H pylori or anything else. I presume weaning myself off sugar, changing to coconut & flaxseed oils & avoiding vege oils as much as possible since May 2012 (though I’ve still been eating wholegrains) has helped a bit, & I’ve significantly upped my organic wholefoods intake, although most of it is vegan.

    Haven’t read the book on GAPS yet but I will as it sounds promising & maybe after my gut is healed my allergy would go away…but if it doesn’t, how can I get enough fat if I can’t eat any mammalian meat? Is duck fat, bird meats & fish (although that will be hard as I have always hated fish & seafood in general, but willing to try working it into my diet) enough??

    • says

      Hi Jodie!

      First of all, whether you try Paleo or not, getting your fats in order is one of the best things you can do for your health! And it’s definitely possible to get enough good fats without including red meat. You mentioned coconut oil and flaxseed oil- coconut oil is great, and while flaxseed oil is probably not the best choice (because it’s extremely delicate and prone to oxidation, and doesn’t give you the long-chain omega-3 fats DHA and EPA) I’d say it’s definitely better than industrial vegetable oils, as long as it’s high quality and not rancid. What other fats are you currently eating?

      Red palm oil, avocado oil, olive oil (be sure it’s high-quality), and macadamia nut oil are other plant-based sources of good fat, and of course you can get good fats by just eating avocado, olives, and nuts as well. If you aren’t allergic to pork, pastured lard is a great option, and duck fat (as you mentioned) is good. If you can eat eggs, egg yolks are a good source of fat, plus many important nutrients.

      Dairy fat is another great option, if you can tolerate it. Ghee is one of my favorite fats to cook with, and of course, butter is delicious on everything :)

      Basically, you have a ton of options! And like I said earlier, whatever you can do to eliminate industrial vegetable oils and balance your omega-3/omega-6 intake is a good move, whether you end up trying Paleo or not.

      • says

        I agree with every that Alyssa said, I especially love fair trade Red Palm Oil and it’s amazing vitamin E qualities that you can’t get anywhere else. I spread it on my pastured meats that I cook as well as adding to shakes.

  35. Jodie says

    Hi Alyssa,

    Thanks for taking the time to reply! I forgot to mention I’m on an eczema elimination diet at the moment, so I can’t eat dairy products at all. (The only thing I can eat at the moment from what you mentioned is the duck fat, which I did add to my meal yesterday.)
    I used to eat most of those things you mentioned.
    I am allergic to pork – any mammals.

    So you definitely think that with those sources of fats it’s enough? Do you know that others in the paleo community think the same? Cause they seem to be so much into the organ meats…
    and is there any controversy over the butter? Why should that be ok but not other dairy?

    thanks!!

    • says

      Keep in mind that you shouldn’t be trying to conform your own needs to fit a pre-set diet; you should be conforming your diet to fit your own needs. I don’t think your goal should be to try and figure out if there are enough sources of good fats for you to try ‘Paleo’; I think the goal should be to recognize your food constraints, realize that it isn’t an ideal situation, and then just do the best you can to replace any ‘bad fats’ that might be lingering in your diet with healthier ones that still work for you.

      Whether others in the Paleo community would consider those sources of fat are ‘enough’ for you is somewhat irrelevant, because you can’t just change the foods your body tolerates (at least not immediately!). But yes, I do think that between fats from poultry and seafood, and fats from plants such as coconut oil and palm oil, you do not need to consume any modern industrial vegetable oils or other ‘bad fats’ to meet your fat needs.

      Organ meats are definitely good! Are you not able to consume organ meats from poultry? And there’s definitely controversy over butter, but again, it’s about figuring out whether YOU can tolerate butter; not whether butter is “paleo.” Usually, people who consider themselves Paleo will still eat butter and ghee even if they don’t eat other dairy because they’re both almost all fat, and the problematic portion of dairy is almost always the protein or lactose. Ghee is often tolerated even by those who have dairy allergies, because all of the protein and lactose is removed.

      If you search the archives, Chris has written a lot about dairy in the past!

  36. Jodie says

    Hi Alyssa,
    Of course I am trying to conform my diet at the moment to me individually; however I am really interested in what is the basis for a healthy diet for humans generally, & hope that once my digestive system is healed that I will be able to come at least very close to that diet.
    The only fats I’ve been eating for months now are (not right now on the elimination diet) coconut & olive oil, nuts & avocados, & right now flaxseeds & flaxseed oil & cashews & duck fat. I’ve phased vegetable oils out gradually since last year. I certainly wouldn’t think about trying to up my fat content with those bad fats!!
    I should be able to consume poultry organ meats, however I have no idea where to source such high quality organ meats in Australia.
    Concerning butter & other dairy, I guess I want to know all the research & opinions on it, so even if I seem to be able to handle it, I may not eat it if I decide the evidence doesn’t stack up for it being good for us.

    I know right now I can’t change what my body tolerates, but I want to know whether cutting back the carbs too much & not getting enough fats is possibly going to be detrimental at all…
    Because I’ve felt quite a lot better in the last few months on the diet I’m on, which regularly includes white jasmin rice & quinoa, plus chickpeas & lentils, to fill out my vegetable soups, which is the bulk of my diet right now.

    I am doing a lot of research into diet but at the same time am feeling a bit rushed because I want to find a solution & have limited time to do that research…hence me wanting to get other peoples’ opinions…

    thanks again for your comments

  37. Jodie says

    Ok, I’ll look up those links when I get a chance (unfortunately it’s easy to listen to podcasts at work but not so easy to read stuff!). Again, thanks for your input!
    :)

  38. brad says

    I think moderation is the key to most things in life, As for colon cancer, I think it has to do more with lack of fiber and water in the diet. More fruits, veggies and water along with eating red meat a couple times a week.

  39. Rob Vw says

    Interesting article! A while back, I decided to do a test to not consume red meat for two weeks. It is now the 10th day and the past 3 days now I have no energy to sleeping over 14+ hours and feeling weak most of the time, Attention span is minimal, ears ringing and poorer vision. When meat is a part of my diet, these symptoms seem to not exist. Now I have a better insight that yes, Red Meat is necessary for my diet.

    Is there anyway to tip you with Dogecoins?

  40. Teria says

    Love this article! Red meat does not only have to be eaten in moderation. There are many lean cuts of red meat that allow them to be healthy. Also, hypertension and cardiovascular disease risks are increased by eating these meats due to the way they are prepared/cooked. The amount of salt added to the dish is what increases the risk of these meats. In addition, if the meat has a high level of fat the risks of chronic disease can occur. A go to method when purchasing lean meats is to look for USDA “Select” meats and to look for meats that contain the works “Round” or “Loin.” Hope this helps :). Here is the full article on choosing lean meats http://www.simplelivehealthy.com/2014/02/26/the-ultimate-guide-to-healthy-meats/

  41. W C says

    These results indicate that high consumption of red meat, especially processed meat, may increase all-cause mortality. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24148709 Red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of total, CVD, and cancer mortality. Substitution of other healthy protein sources for red meat is associated with a lower mortality risk. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22412075 Red and processed meat intakes were associated with modest increases in total mortality, cancer mortality, and cardiovascular disease mortality. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19307518 Red meat intake was associated with increased risk of ischemic heart disease mortality (HR = 1.41, 95% CI = 1.05-1.89) and with decreased risk of hemorrhagic stroke mortality (HR = 0.62, 95% CI = 0.45-0.87). There were suggestive inverse associations of poultry intake with risk of total and all-CVD mortality among men, but not among women http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23451121 Our results suggest that low consumption of processed meat and higher consumption of poultry and fish may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20392889 Our data confirm that colorectal cancer risk is positively associated with high consumption of red and processed meat and support an inverse association with fish intake. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15956652 Total, red, and processed meat intakes were associated with an increased risk of gastric non-cardia cancer, especially in H. pylori antibody-positive subjects, but not with cardia gastric cancer. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16507831

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_lifespan#Life_expectancy_variation_over_time

    “A Theory of Human Life History Evolution: Diet, Intelligence and Longevity”. Evolutionary Anthropology 9 (4): 156–185.

    Life expectancy (LE) during Upper Paleolithic era was from 15-39. For 2010 world average LE was 67.2 while eating all sorts of grains in their

  42. Lance A Erley says

    Every study I have looked into classified (and included) bacon , hot dogs and bologna as “red meat.” And (of course), how the animals were raised, and what they were fed is of NO importance/significance to the researchers.

    I suspect most of us already know that processed meats like hog dogs and bacon are unhealthy. And, we already know that most commercial cattle are fed genetically modified grains, that may also be heavily contaminated with pesticides and or toxic mold. And, if that were not enough of a concern, we know that the cattle are prophylactically fed bgh and antibiotics.

    In order to increase corporate profits, many factory farms will feed “byproduct feedstuffs” to the cows. These byproducts may include things like heat treated garbage stale candy bars, and even chewing gum (still in the aluminum wrappers). Some byproduct feedstuffs are high in protein and are considered a welcome addition to a high-grain diet. This list includes chicken feathers, salvaged pet food, ground-up laying hens (known as “spent hen meal”) and urea.

    Once the meat reaches the local butcher, it chemically treated again (to make it look fresh and pink). Then it’s most likely will be wrapped in plastics (leaching more carcinogens and/or and xenoestrogens into the meat.

    Finally, once the consumer gets the “red meat” home, it’s cooked at high temperatures on the barbi grill, or in the old Teflon coated frying pan.

    As almost always, it’s not the food, not the red meat….it’s the processing!

    If a study that only included “red meat” from cattle which were fed and finished on grass, were fed NO antibiotics, growth hormones, animal by-products, gmo’s, grains, or heated garbage, it might be credible.

    Oh, and one more thing, I prefer my meat (be it red, white, or blue) not come from a cloned animal.

  43. Natalie says

    Would you say red meat is good or bad for eczema, has anyone who suffers from the skin condition noticed?

    • says

      Hi Natalie. I would say that red meat may be good for your eczema. Once you develop cancer or heart disease, you will hardly notice the eczema at all.

  44. James Kennerley says

    Wow. This article is action-packed with utter BS. Want to know how much meat you should have in your diet? Look up the recent studies at Harvard which indicate that the optimum meat intake is precisely 0%. Or maybe the the work known as the Comparative Anatomy of Eating, by Milton Mills MD, which clearly indicates that we are simply not equipped for the consumption of meat… or look up the many other sources, maybe even take it a step further by looking up the vast amounts of vegan athletes and bodybuilders, including Patrik Baboumian (Germany’s Strongest Man) and Billy Simmonds (Mr Universe).

    Or just use your common sense. What’s more likely to clog your arteries, a steak or a carrot? Who’s ever had a heart attack because of too much broccoli? Who has high cholesterol or high blood pressure as a result of eating to many apples?

    Don’t be absurd. Claiming that red meat doesn’t have a DIRECT link with heart disease, colon/bowel cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, clogged arteries and diabetes is ridiculous, and absolutely false.

    The guy that wrote this only wrote it so he could look like he knows what he’s talking about while stubbornly refusing to admit the truth. He knows he’s lying, but he obviously likes meat, so he’s trying to justify it by spreading lies.

    All nonsense.

  45. says

    I can’t see any compelling reason why a few minor nutritional benefits would justify having the horrors of factory farming, the environmental destruction or the diseases that are firmly linked to excessive meat consumption. Even the standard USDA food pyramid only recommends 5.5 ounces of meat per day based on a 2,000 calorie diet and this is actually far less than most people eat. So even if I agreed eating meat was healthy for me as 1 human being, how could I justify eating it to benefit my selfish needs at the expense of the planet and knowing full well the suffering endured by the animals raised for slaughter or used in dairy operations? For me the balance of the decision would have to be “if you don’t meat for 10 days in a row you will fall over and die”. That clearly is not the case as thousands of healthy vegans illustrate and as more and more vegans showcase every type of physique from body builders to endurance athletes we are busting all the myths that meat eaters use as an excuse to justify the torture and killing of animals. Animal abuse hasn’t been trendy for a long time and what meat eaters have to grapple with is that it’s hard to make the argument that a person who pays others to cause pain to animals is not an animal abuser.

    • Rick says

      eat grass fed beef from non CAFO farms… Dave Asprey has written in detail about how eating grass fed animals that are free to roam around actually improves the soil.. But I agree, CAFO meat should be avoided..

  46. says

    I’ve been 8010101, raw vegan, and vegetarian,… or instincto vegan,…. and clearly as shown by my body I’m healthiest as a prudent cooked and customarily raw(fruits, some vegetables, some other things) omnivore,… per what humans have been all along for the most part, for apparently several species of our Homo lineage. Wanna know what’s optimum for human health? Get an idea with living in the wild. And you’ll need to make fire too. Veganism is a cult, with environmentalist, save the earth, and compassionate/karmic leanings. For a bit of time it can be beneficial in some cases,… but not normally.

  47. Bob says

    How does the “China Study’ fit into the discussion about meat in the diet? Didn’t it show that a plant-based diet was associated with lower disease rates than diets rich in dairy, meat and fish?

  48. oneshot2shots says

    Why is the China study still being quoted in arguments as a strength?? Its the shoddiest study ever conducted and anyone who quotes is is pretty much admitting he’s an idiot. Look it vegans the facts are there. There is something called evolutionary theory. Our bodies evolved to eat a certain way, which was eating beef. There were no cancers until grains(as well as their derivatives) and sugars were introduced into society. Its common sense, for the most part vegans are underfed,miserable and malnourished. To get the lesser bioavailable nutrients from plants would require a depressing amount of work. The worlds strongest men are meateaters but there may be a possible vegan exception or 2. Meat-eaters have more energy. As quoted above veganism is no more than a cult, and they won’t listen to reason.

    I mean anecdotally you guys get crushed, the amount of people who tried vegan and then tried paleo(talk about a contrast). I don’t actually believe there is one person on the planet veganism works for they just delude themselves. Why am I even bothering?? Their not going to abandon their religion in light of logic or common sense.

    • Jen J says

      I got colon cancer at the age of 38Y.O. being a vegetarian. I ate a lot of grains. Now I notice grains actually make me feel terrible. It’s all so confusing and I believe it comes down to our genetic make-up what our body requires. The GMO’s in food is damaging many individuals immune systems!

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