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Should you avoid red meat?

I must say, whenever me and Mrs Fruci have a date night…

It nearly always means steak night…

From the butcher..

No kids…

No kids eating my dinner (not a chance I would share my steak, anyway)..

So maybe I am a little bit biased…

But the thing is..

I am just presenting the facts of what the research says… 

You see, the longer I am in this health and fitness industry,

The more I appreciate just how confusing this whole nutrition and fitness stuff can be.

From delivering NHS Diabetes education programme where some of the people on the course recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes were confused about bananas (with Slimming world saying they are fine if they are uncooked but a syn if they are cooked…)

Then you have the change from “saturated fat causes insulin resistance” (an indicator of Type 2 Diabetes)

TO

“Saturated fat does NOT cause insulin resistance”

It’s confusing, right?

You then have people saying you need to do ‘juicing’ to give your digestion system a break..

But then saying you need to avoid ALL sugar?

Spoiler alert..

Juicing takes a lot of the goodness out because it removes the fibre which your body has to ferment (which feeds the good bacteria in your gut, too)..

Leaving you with sugar…

You’re then told that resistance exercise and protein makes you big and bulky..

Then feel disappointed when you do a diet, lose 10lbs, still aren’t happy with the way you look or feel..

And it comes back on again..

WOW..

I am exhausted just reading that…

No wonder you feel confused sometimes..

Now, red meat has hit the news a lot recently. 

One minute they said it was bad..

And then next?

It is not so bad..

Statistically speaking?

Any data showing that red meat can be negative has MANY flaws, in fact a recent study concluded that most of these studies LACKED reliability and validity, had missing data and bias..

Plus, many studies may not account for factors like smoking, fast food, lack of exercise and obesity that are actually the reasons why red meat may be deemed as bad 

^^^for example, eating a lean steak is a bit different to a Big Mac meal with fries and large coca cola, yet these are often not accounted for in studies

Not to mention many studies are in mice and then these are translated by the media to humans …

Now, I am not saying go crazy on red meat here.

But as always, it doesn’t have to be this ‘all or nothing’ thinking..

Red meat is a great source of iron, B12, protein, carnitine and creatine (may help cognitive health, depressive symptoms and anxiety)…

BUT…

That doesn’t mean you should become a carnivore….

If you eat lots of whole, natural foods, don’t smoke, exercise, only drink in moderation…

Eating red meat (especially lean) isn’t anything to worry about too much..

Want to be extra cautious, maybe stick to 3 or so portions a week…

And if you wanted to cut down, maybe cut down on smoked meats… 

But having more red meat may even benefit you …

There is more here, though….

A study in 2014 of 100 women aged 60-90 were given either 

  1. Resistance training and red meat (160g cooked) 6 days a week for 4 months

OR

  1. Resistance exercise and pasta / rice 6 days a week for 4 months

The results?

The red meat group put on more lean mass.. 

Had a 16% reduction in proinflammatory markers

And there was NO difference in blood pressure of cholesterol…

A similar study in 2017 showed similar results…

Interesting, right?

Especially given that muscle mass reduces your risk of Type 2 diabetes & cardiovascular disease..

And not to mention, improves the quality of our lives and prolongs our independence ..

Vegetarian?

What you can take from this is that a higher protein intake may be beneficial…

My point here?

Be skeptical…

Be critical…

Ask questions…

Even to me…

Don’t just assume an ‘expert’ knows it all..

In fact, if they say they know it all?

Run 😉 

There’s a lot of dogma in nutrition.

From Breakfast being the most important meal of the day 

To starvation mode..

To carrots and parsnips making us fat (one of the ladies was actually told before that she needed to cut out carrots and parsnips to lose weight….I get it though, they only had a 5 minute chat, how can they possibly give specific advice?)

Anyhoo..

My point here is there is a LOT more to this than

Simply [insert bad food of the month]…

Especially considering that many of the ladies I work with 

Will try to give up a food they believe to be ‘bad’..

Only to then feel dissatisfied, hungry and feel the need to snack more..

On processed, high sugar, high calorie, moreish foods…

Which – of course – is a recipe for excess fat gain..

^^^ something that WILL increase our risk of disease, red meat or not…

Matt ‘food for thought’ Fruci