It's a confusing time for carnivores. Most people know that it's healthier to eat less meat, but meat lovers are left wondering if they have to give it up entirely. The experts at Consumer Reports say the key is moderation.
You don’t need to give up meat to have a healthy diet. It delivers important nutrients and can be a concentrated source of protein. But most people do need to cut back. You should have no more than a few servings of red meat per week, 3.5 ounces each.
CR has a few guidelines to help you maintain a healthy diet and still keep meat on your menu. Start by letting it play a supporting role on your plate, with veggies, beans, and grains taking center stage. The meat should take up just one-quarter of your plate.
Another tip is to be choosy about what you buy and eat. You should look for less fatty cuts of meat like beef or pork tenderloin, or petite or top sirloin. You can even ask your butcher to cut off the fat. And consider buying grass-fed beef, which along with being raised in more humane conditions is typically leaner.
Next, think about how you’ll cook it. Roasting, braising, or stewing can be a healthy way to cook meat without having to add extra butter or oil. Grilling also uses less oil, but charring food can create compounds that may cause cancer. If you do decide to grill your meat, you should do so on a low flame. And if you marinate it before, that can also reduce the formation of those compounds.
Health risks may be greater with processed meat like cold cuts and bacon. They’ve been linked to cancer in several studies and tend to be high in sodium. Instead, CR suggests using pork tenderloin, chicken breast, or another cooked fresh meat for sandwiches and salads.