How often should you eat red meat?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “How often should you eat red meat?” and provide information on what exactly is red meat, why it should not be consumed, tips to reduce its consumption as well as points to be kept in mind before eating them.

How often should you eat red meat?

Eat 3 portions of red meat a week. 3 portions are equal to 350 to 500 grams of meat. Red meat has to be eaten in moderation. 

This is because excess consumption of red meat is associated with developing colorectal cancer.

What exactly is red meat?

The amount of myoglobin in meat determines whether meat is red or white. Myoglobin is a protein found in animals. 

When exposed to oxygen, myoglobin becomes red in color. This protein is responsible for giving redness to red meat. Lamb, veal, beef, and pork are some examples of red meat. Compared to red meat, white meat is white in color both before and after cooking.

Why should red meat not be eaten?

Red meat should not be eaten as it is carcinogenic. The carcinogens present in red meat are similar to what is found in alcohol and cigarette smoke.

According to research studies, eating two slices of bacon a day increased the risk of colon cancer by 1 percent. Red meat does not contain much fiber either. On the other hand, eating veggies and fruits reduced the risk of colon cancer because of the presence of fiber.

Red meat is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular health. This is because red meat consumption can significantly elevate cholesterol levels. 

This can lead to strokes and heart attacks. Excess red meat consumption has been associated with obesity. Red meat (processed) can also elevate the risk of developing Type-2 diabetes.

Red meat does not benefit environmentally either. Cattles are associated with the increased production of greenhouse gasses. This is because 30 percent of grains grown are given to cattle. Cost-wise too, red meat is costly compared to other vegetarian sources of protein.

How can you reduce red meat consumption?

  • If you eat red meat daily, gradually cut down on red meat consumption. You can go from eating red meat daily to eating it 4 times a day to slowly eating them once or twice a week. 
  • Substitute red meat with seafood. You can eat fresh, canned, or frozen meat. Remember to eat seafood or fish once a week. This is because seafood contains mercury and excess consumption of seafood can cause mercury poisoning.
  • Substitute red meat with white meat. You can go for either ground turkey or chicken-based dishes. Rabbit meat is also classified as white meat. 
  • Focus on consuming vegetarian sources of protein. You can start eating vegan cheese, soy-based products (soy flour, soy milk), peas, plant milk, etc. 

If you do not have issues consuming dairy products, you can increase their quantity in your diet to obtain protein. Greek yogurt is also a good source of protein. 

If you are non-vegetarian, you can eat egg whites and seafood as well. There are whey protein powders available too.

  • If you are buying meat from a butcher, specifically ask them to give you leaner cuts of meat.
  • Avoid consuming meats present in pastries or pies as they are usually high in sodium and fat.

What needs to be kept in mind while eating red meat?

  • If you are eating pork, go for leaner cuts of pork. Pork loin and tenderloin do not contain much fat. Do not have processed meats such as sausage or bacon.
  • Choose leaner cuts of steak like flank, tenderloin, sirloin, and ball tip. Leaner cuts of steak tend to have fewer calories. They also contain more protein. If you notice any fat in them, cut them off.
  • There are many ground meat options available in the market. Go for leaner ground meats. Select meats that are 90 percent lean. Meats should not have more than 10 percent fat. You can check the labels of these meat products before buying them.
  • While preparing red meat, using appropriate cooking methods is essential. You can bake, broil, roast, air-fry, poach, or grill meat. Avoid frying.
  • Place meat above a metal rack and keep a roasting tin below the rack so that excess fat can be removed from the meat.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “How often should you eat red meat?” and provided information on what exactly is red meat, why it should not be consumed, tips to reduce its consumption as well as points to be kept in mind before eating them.


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