What You Need To Know About Nutrition In Meat – And What To Avoid
Regardless of whether you are on a low-carb meal plan or the Paleo Diet, knowing where your meat comes from is an important part of nutrition and health. Animals that are raised in a stress-free environment and fed foods that are natural to their diet will be happier, healthier, and better for your health.
However, most meat found in grocery stores is mass produced, with livestock stuck in confined and stressful lives, while feeding them with grains that are not natural to them. The excess of naturally-occurring stress hormones (along with added growth hormones) makes mass-produced meat harmful to humans.
To ensure that you are getting the best quality of meat, ask your local butcher about how the animals lived and what they ate.
Buying meat directly from free-range farms is even better. Not only will the meat be healthier for you and taste better, but you will also have peace of mind knowing that the animals didn’t live stressful lives. Knowing the fat content in meat is also important when following the Paleo Diet, or any other diet.
Below is a comparison of the different fats found in meat:
Fats are an essential part of any balanced diet. If you are on a paleo diet, a large portion of your fats will come from meat. Knowing the difference between good fats and bad fats is important for overall health.
The level of fats changes with different meat, and especially depends on how the animals were raised and fed. Here are the main fats found in meat:
- Saturated fats – produce less inflammation in the body than unsaturated fats.
- Monounsaturated fats – healthy.
- Polyunsaturated fats – healthy, but can cause inflammation in large quantities (especially Omega 6). Higher amounts of Omega 6 compared to Omega 3 will cause these fats to be less healthy.
Grass-fed, free-range beef has a healthy ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids; is high in saturated and monounsaturated fats; and low in polyunsaturated fats.
Grain-fed beef has a less healthy ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids, since grains are high in Omega 6. If you are looking for lean beef, certain cuts are best—tenderloin, loin, flank steak.
Since chicken is leaner than beef, it has less fat overall. However, chicken has more Omega 6 fatty acids than beef, and more monounsaturated fats with the skin on.
Pork has a moderate amount of fats, and more Omega 6 than Omega 3 fatty acids.
Fish has a very healthy ratio (the best of these meats and proteins, in fact) of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, and a moderate level of the other fats.
For those who follow the Paleo Diet, low-carb meal plans, or who just eat a balanced diet, being informed about the quality of your meat is important for overall health. Increasing the demand for healthy, natural, stress-free meat will improve the meat industry and our overall health.