Don’t Put the Blame on Meat
Published: Monday, February 10, 2014
Updated: Monday, February 10, 2014 09:02
Some research suggests that Americans are eating too much meat, and this is leading to an increased risk of heart attacks. However, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines suggest that people should consume five to seven ounces of meat per day, or 46 to 56 grams (possibly more for pregnant women or athletes). According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, women are only eating about 4.4 ounces or meat per day and men are consuming about 6.9 ounces per day.
People also think most meat products are high in cholesterol and saturated fats. But, there are many lean meat options with less fat and cholesterol. Some meats also contain the “good fats” which are mono and polyunsaturated fats. Including a meat protein source in your meals also decreases hunger and may help aid in weight loss, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Meat doesn’t spike blood sugar levels either. According to Dr. Davis, MD, author of “Wheat Belly,” “the notion that saturated fat and total fat being related to cardiovascular disease has pretty much been debunked.”
The American Heart Association recommends people aim to keep their saturated fat intake below seven percent of their daily caloric intake. For example, a sedentary middle-aged female should consume about 2,000 calories per day. Her saturated fat intake should not go over 15 grams, and her total fat intake should range from 56 to 77 grams.
In regards to the previous example, throughout the entire day she could eat a cheeseburger from McDonalds that contains 12 grams of fat, six grams of saturated fat, 40 mg of cholesterol and 15 grams of protein. She could also eat a 4-ounce grilled chicken breast containing one gram of fat, zero grams of saturated fat, 70 mg of cholesterol and 27 grams of protein.
With these two servings of meat, she still needs four grams of protein to satisfy her daily needs, her saturated fat intake can still increase by nine grams and her total fat intake is only at 13 grams. After she eats food from the other food groups, her overall totals should then meet her daily caloric intake.
Sometimes people get overly concerned that meat is the main cause of heart attacks and heart disease, but as long as people follow the dietary guidelines, meat can be enjoyed in the diet. Everything in moderation is a good rule of thumb, because each food group offers necessary nutrients to the body.