Meat is an important source of protein, something that is essential for building muscle. It also contains a great deal of fat, and can therefore increase your cholesterol. As such, many people ask “Are humans meant to eat meat, or is it something they should avoid altogether?” The answer is that meat is actually good for you, so long as certain guidelines are followed.
A single serving of meat contains around 21 grams of protein, which is nearly half the daily allowance for an average woman. Besides being high in protein, meat also contains all of the essential amino acids your body cannot produce on its own. Meat is very high in certain vitamins and minerals, particularly iron, phosphorus, zinc, and most B-complex vitamins.
May Lower Cholesterol
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition followed 36 people who had been diagnosed with high cholesterol. These individuals, who were previously following a diet consisting mostly of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, consumed 4 to 5.5 ounces of lean beef each day. These participants lowered their LDL or “bad” cholesterol by approximately ten percent. Beef contains stearic acid and oleic acid, two substances that have been shown to improve cholesterol levels.
Effects on Digestive System
Some doctors answer “no” when asked “Are humans meant to eat meat?” because of its effects on the digestive system. Meat takes longer than other foods to pass through your digestive system. This can cause it to work harder than it needs to, resulting in an increased risk for stomach disorders. Processed meats are especially harmful, and can lead to an increased risk of cancer. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), eating 50 grams of processed meat each day increases your risk of developing colorectal cancer by more than 18%. Consuming large amounts of red meat also makes it more likely that you will develop pancreatic cancer.
The Bottom Line
The answer to the question “Are humans meant to eat meat?” is yes, as long as they do so wisely. Lean cuts of beef, chicken, or fish lightly grilled or broiled will provide you with a host of essential nutrients, and will also ensure you retain muscle. So long as you avoid processed meats and stay away from fattening sauces, you can enjoy delicious meat without feeling guilty about it. You should also limit the amount of red meat you ea t- a single serving two or three times each week is plenty.
Meat is something most people cannot imagine living without. If you’ve been asking “Are humans meant to eat meat?” you’ll be glad to know that they are indeed supposed to. Include plenty of veggies and whole grains to ensure you have a well-balanced diet, and you should notice no ill effects whatsoever from consuming meat.