Is meat a second rate food or is it not? Do we need to consume meat for optimal health? Here are some points to consider:
1- Eating meat may help stabilize blood sugar. A meal based on meat and veggies will satisfy and keep full longer than a meal based on carbohydrates and veggies.
2- Meat provides the easiest way to get all four amino acids, iron and vitamin B12. It is rich in zinc and selenium as well. Studies show vegetarians tend to be deficient in certain nutrients like vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, iron and zinc.
3- Although vegetarians are concerned about toxins stored in the fat of animals, animal fats can play an important role in vitamin absorption. For example, one study showed that absorption of beta-carotene from a salad with no added fat was close to zero. Other studies have shown that beta carotene consumed with beef tallow rather than sunflower oil increases its absorption by 11 to 17 percent.
4- Most meat eaters who participate in the anti-meat studies also consume high amounts of sugar, refined carbs in their highly processed, inflammatory diet, which could explain some of the results obtained by these studies.
5- One study did screen subjects to ensure they were health conscious. The overall death rates were cut in half for both health conscious meat eaters and for vegetarians as compared to the average persons. The study concluded that for the vegetarians, there was no benefit found, and for the meat eaters, there was no increased risk for heart disease, cancer or death.
6- Vegetarian diets typically contain large amounts of legumes and grains and low in bioavailable nutrients. Organ meats, however, are among the most nutrient dense foods.
7- Fat soluble vitamins A and D are critical to human health. They are concentrated and almost exclusively found in animal food.
The key is eating small to moderate amounts of grass-fed or organic meat along with a pile of colorful fruits and veggies. Is it essential though? Each person needs to listen to his or her own body. Many different factors could influence how much meat a person can or should eat.