How Much Meat is Healthy?

Hardly any food is as popular and at the same time as controversial as meat. On average, Germans eat around 60 kilograms a year. The German Society for Nutrition (DGE), on the other hand, recommends consuming a maximum of 600 grams of meat per week. That would be a maximum of around 31 kilograms per year. Consumers prefer pork, followed by poultry, beef, and veal. Half of it is consumed in processed form as sausages or other meat products.

These nutrients are in meat

Meat contains many valuable nutrients. It provides high-quality protein, iron, B vitamins, and minerals. However, today it is no longer necessary to eat meat if we want to eat healthily because all nutrients are also found in other foods. Experts also agree that too much meat and sausage can be bad for your health.

Lots of protein, but also lots of purines

Pure muscle meat consists of more than 20 percent protein. It is therefore rich in essential, i.e. vital, amino acids and, together with egg and milk protein, is one of the proteins with the highest biological value. Animal protein is very similar to human protein and can therefore be easily absorbed and processed by the body. Due to the high protein content, however, meat also provides a lot of purines. These are protein by-products that are broken down into uric acid in the body and are normally excreted in the urine. In people who have disturbed uric acid metabolism, a diet rich in meat can lead to gout attacks.

Better white than red meat

Red meat such as beef and pork is rich in iron, which is needed for the formation of red blood cells. However, too much red meat promotes the development of colon cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes. The World Health Organization (WHO) classified it as “probably carcinogenic”. White meat, i.e. poultry meat is more digestible, lower in calories, and lower in fat.

Fat content varies

The fat content of meat varies depending on the type of meat and also depends on the feed of the animals. Overall, the fat content has continued to fall in recent years. The decisive factor here is the type of fat – healthy unsaturated fatty acids and unhealthy saturated fatty acids. Poultry meat generally has a higher proportion of unsaturated fatty acids than red meat.

The cholesterol content, on the other hand, is relatively constant. Depending on the type of meat and cut, it fluctuates between 60 and 80 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams. Organic meat is preferable for ethical reasons and does not require prophylactic medication, but it is not necessarily better in terms of quality.

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