Disease Proof

Red Meat: Good Source of Vitamins?

Earlier this month a new study determined a link between red meat and cancer. This no doubt sent every steak and potato loving American into a tizzy. Now, I don’t know why, but for many people eating steak is the next best thing to godliness—evidently the creator wears a cowboy hat, listens to country music, and throws a mean lasso.

So our nation’s love affair with steak prompts me to ask this question, “Is red meat crucial to human nutrition?” Surely if so many people crave it, there must be something essential about it. Something vital, maybe it’s loaded with important nutrients? According to Jacki Donaldson of The Cancer Blog it is:
Red meat contains a lot of iron. And while iron also comes from vegetable sources, meat contains more iron than most foods and is best utilized by the body in this form.

Red meat also contains B vitamins, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, selenium -- and protein, critical for muscle and organ health. Protein from red meat is complete, meaning it contains all the amino acids the body cannot make on its own. Protein helps the body repair and renew.
Anyone remember Nutrient Density of Green Vegetables? Check it out. You’ll see that on the average 100-calories of certain green vegetables, like broccoli, Romaine lettuce, and Kale, trounces the nutrient-density of 100-calories of sirloin.

And a lot of those nutrients are readily available in plants. Take zinc and iron for example: Romaine lettuce has more zinc than sirloin and all three, broccoli, Romaine lettuce, and Kale, contain more iron than sirloin. And what about the “complete protein” theory? Dr. Fuhrman’s colleague Jeff Novick tackles it in this previous post: Complementary Protein Myth Won't Go Away!
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Comments (8) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
ruth - November 27, 2006 2:30 PM

but then it isn't just a matter of content, but of bioavailability. it is well known that the iron in red meat is more readily available than plant-derived iron.

Kyle Key - November 27, 2006 10:41 PM

A vegan with a varied diet, taking/drinking/eating some vitamin c with every big source of iron would have iron levels comparable to, or well exceeding, the RDI.

gordon jenkins - January 31, 2007 4:12 AM

My wife recently had a double lung transplant. Previously no issues with magnesium levels but levels are now low and being supplemented with pills. Coincidently my wife has not eaten any red meat for nearly two months, previously havign red meat 4-5 times a week. Is there is link between red meat and magnesium levels...and would levels drop so quickly.

Mike - October 30, 2009 11:22 AM

I have a question about what the health benefits would be in giving up red meat. I can substitute the vitamin intake and other things with certain vegetables right?

ladylyn saquing - February 17, 2010 5:17 AM

i don't think red meat is good in health, but i do admit that it has a lot of vitamins, but too much eating of red meat can harm our health, there are veggies and fruits that can be substitutes with red meat

Art Hall - December 15, 2010 10:14 PM

So, A Ceasar Salad, Juicy Steak and Sweet Tater,
Cherry Pie alamode and a tall glass of Iced Tea is just as perfect as I always thought it was. In moderation of course-- More tea please, Thank you.

Aaron Lucas - February 20, 2011 12:44 AM

Red Meat has vitamins A, all B's, C, D, E and Omega3. Low amount of C, but when you cut carbohydrates from your diet you don't need the usual amount of C because glucose competes with vitamin C in the cellular uptake process causing us to need more C in our diets. Inuits eating their meat-only diet experience no ill effects or disease from it. We are actually carnivores.Look for the studies and experiments done by Vilhjalmur Stefansson and Karsten Anderson overseen by people from Cornell, Harvard, Johns Hopkins and the American Museum of Natural History. After a year-long meat-only diet and rather sedentary behavior, Stefansson and Anderson's weight dropped, blood pressure dropped and they didn't get sick during a large flu outbreak (circumstantial but noted). No kidney damage, no vitamin deficiencies or calcium depletion. Eugene Du Bois of Cornell University, a naysayer who supervised the experiment wrote the introduction to Stefansson's book "Not By Bread Alone" saying "A great many dire predictions and brilliant theories faded into nothingness." he concluded "Quite evidently we must revise some of our text book statements". The textbook statements on vitamins would go unrevised despite laboratory research that has confirmed Stefansson's speculations about such a diet.

Aaron Lucas - February 20, 2011 3:52 AM

Here is the study so you can read it yourself.


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