The Science of BBQ - Red Meat
When it comes to eating foods, there are just too many sources that say to do this and not that, eat this and not that, and never, ever, eat this, that, or the other thing. And then, the next time you look, they are saying the opposite is true. Over the past 30 years, red meat, in particular, has been vilified. Much like the pork campaign – the other white meat, media has painted red meat in a bad light. But is red meat, beef in particular, that bad for you? Explore the health benefits of beef in the science of barbecue, is red meat healthy for you?
Livestock animals are considered red meat, which includes beef, pork, lamb, goat, and game animals with hooves. It gets the red hue from the larger amounts of myoglobin in the bloodstream, with the exception of pork and boar which has less myoglobin leading to a lighter color.
What 'They' Said
Red meat has been said to increase health risks including obesity, heart disease, cholesterol, and a couple of other things. However, these studies have also shown, while not expressly stating, that those who consume larger than normal amounts of red meat tend to have other unhealthy habits that can also lead to these same increased risk factors.
Those with unhealthy habits that included larger amounts of red meat in their diets also tended to consume higher quantities of processed foods including processed meats. These meats contain Nitrates (also known as Nitrites). Nitrates are a naturally occurring chemical found in soil and water that are part of the earth’s nitrogen cycle, however, they are also added to processed foods, especially meats, to keep them fresh. These foods include ham, bacon, hot dogs, and most deli meats. Overconsumption of these processed products can impact health in a negative way.
Why You Want Fat in your Beef
Beef, in particular, has been the main villain when it comes to the above statements. Beef does contain high amounts of Monounsaturated Fatty Acids and Saturated Fatty Acids. As discussed previously, fat is flavor, but it is also necessary to consume it in moderation, as a way to remain in peak health. Some fats are essential building blocks within your body.
Well-marbled beef contains higher amounts of fatty acids because of the striations of fat held within the meat. Monounsaturated fatty acids, tend to be liquid at room temperature. This means that the Monounsaturated fatty acids will lower the melting point of the fat in your beef, leading to faster rendering and more flavor.
Monounsaturated fatty acids are known to lower the cholesterol and fat in your bloodstream while providing vitamin E and contributing to cell maintenance.
Saturated fatty acids are the ones that aren’t exactly good for you. This type of fatty acid is mainly found in processed foods but does provide a ready energy source for the body when glucose is unavailable.
Why You Should Consider Wagyu Beef
(100% full-blood Japanese) Wagyu beef first and foremost is bread for quality, not quantity. It is not the main star of the stage on a plate, but a supporting character in a cast that creates a whole beautiful meal. Wagyu beef contains up to 300 percent more Monounsaturated fatty acid than other beef produced commercially, as well as high amounts of amino acids, Omegas, vitamin B, and iron, which are all present in the “heart-healthy” diets that include olive oil, avocados, salmon and almonds. This “heart-healthy” dietary fat is said to lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the bad one) and increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the good one) in your bloodstream. Other health benefits of these fats, aminos, and Omegas include protection from arthritis, Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure, heart disease, and depression.
While this article is by no means health and medical advice, it is clear that beef, at least, should be considered a part of a healthy and varied diet. More science-backed studies are looking into what and how we consume food. While a lot of it can be confusing, one thing is clear. When it comes to food, a healthy, well-balanced, and well-prepared diet that uses common sense and moderation is more than enough to lead a good and healthy life.