Nutrition and what goes into making it has been so well researched today, that it allows for a great deal of clarity in its consumption and addresses myths of this world. For instance, consumption of meat, great, or not so great? Have you occasionally heard that consumption of meat could create health concerns and pose the risk of heart-related issues and diabetes? Great research and science allow the consumer to make very informed decisions and eat right. So let’s understand more about this dietary option. Get to meats that are fresh, cured rightly, cold-cuts that are perhaps gluten-free and avoid additional hormones, artificial colours or flavours and added Monosodium Glutamate (MSG).
You must be aware that meats are a powerhouse of proteins, one of the most essential macronutrients that is an important building block for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. Nails and hair are also mostly made of protein. It helps in the process of building and repairing body tissues. Now, let’s look at some of the myths associated with meat consumption.
- Meat rots our colon – not true
While some may believe that meat rots our colon as it does not get appropriately digested, this is definitely not true. The fact states that when we consume meat, stomach acid and digestive enzymes break it down into protein and fats and in the small intestine, the protein is further broken down into amino acids and fats into fatty acids that get absorbed into the digestive wall and bloodstream. Thus, no portion of meat is left to rot in the colon.
- Meat spikes saturated fat and cholesterol – know the appropriate fact
You may occasionally hear that consumption of meat may lead to saturated fat and cholesterol. However, research has shown that cholesterol is a crucial molecule in the body, and is found in cell membranes and used to make hormones. When we get a lot of cholesterol from the diet, the liver just produces less of it instead, and so the total amount doesn’t change much. Some studies have shown that saturated fats can reduce the risk of stroke as well.
- Heart disease and diabetes – fresh cold cuts have no link at all
A few link meat consumption with the risk of heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes, which again is not true. While these diseases are new conditions that people have developed recently, human civilisation has been consuming meat for millions of years. Fresh, handcrafted meat has no link with increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
- Meat is bad for bone health – it, in fact, makes bones stronger
In case you believe meat is bad for bone health, you must rectify your thoughts. The fact is, meat is an essential source of protein that comes with associated vitamins and minerals and calcium is one of them. Thus, studies have associated high protein intake with enhanced bone density and reduced risk of osteoporosis and fracture.
- Meat makes an individual fat – no, it aids in weight loss
Another common myth related to the consumption of meat that exists is that meat makes an individual fat. While meat has high levels of calories and fat, it is also one of the best sources of protein and is considered to be the macronutrient that is best for weight loss. Also, studies have shown that a protein-rich diet prevents an individual from eating more frequently and in large quantities that lead to weight loss.
- Humans should not eat meat, this is absurd
There are claims that humans are not ‘designed’ to eat meat. This is not true as humans have been eating meat for ages and human bodies have become well adapted to meat consumption. Researchers also say digestive systems in humans don’t resemble those of herbivores. Humans are well equipped to make full use of the nutrients found in meat and our digestive system reflects a genetic adaptation to an omnivorous diet, with animal foods as a major source of calories.
- Meat is not necessary to maintain good health, it is in fact good
A few believe that meat is not necessary to maintain good health. Quality meat, however, has many nutrients that are good for us. This includes quality protein, vitamin B12, creatine, carnosine and various important fat-soluble vitamins that may be in lower quantities in vegetarian food.
Now that the myths have been busted, consuming meat has no risk at all. However, it is essential to be careful about what one is putting on one’s plate and in appropriate quantity. An individual must ensure intake of healthy, fresh, handcrafted deli meats and cold cuts that are devoid of excessive sodium, MSG, other hormones, and preservatives. This is why cold cuts that avoid artificial colours or flavours, nitrite, hormones, MSG and glutens can be a healthy alternative for consumers and create a perfectly balanced, protein enriching diet for all.
Contributed by Fabiola Mendes, Director, Bennet & Bernard Group