Meat is sweet for you. There are experts who might disagree with me, and plenty of researchers proceed to go looking for evidence linking meat to heart disease, for instance.
But as a Harvard-trained, board-certified psychiatrist specializing in dietary and metabolic psychiatry, I’ve long been interested by the connection between food and brain health, in addition to overall well-being. And in my research, I’ve yet to seek out a reputable, plausible health argument against eating meat of any kind (including pork, seafood, and poultry).
In truth, no other food group is nutritious enough, protected enough, or geographically accessible enough to recommend because the healthy foundation of the optimal human weight loss program.
So if I could only afford to purchase food from one food group, I’d prioritize meat.
Meat is sweet for gut health since it’s non-irritating, easy to digest, and supports healthy insulin levels without promoting blood glucose spikes.
It also provides all the macronutrients and micronutrients we want, including some which are difficult or not possible to acquire from plant foods. For example, it’s a superb source of each B vitamin, including B7, which plants contain little or no of, and B12, which plants don’t contain in any respect.
Only meat incorporates heme iron, a type of iron no less than 3 times easier for us to soak up than the non-heme iron in plants. And only animal-source foods contain the MK‑4 type of vitamin K2, which is simpler to soak up (and is the shape utilized by the human brain).
Some scientists even argue that eating meat made us human — meaning that it allowed us to devote less energy and bodily real estate to the long intestinal tract needed to process high-fiber, high-plant diets, in order that we could invest more energy in developing our uniquely oversized brains.
Here’s how one can incorporate meat in your weight loss program the best way:
- Select healthy meats. Each time possible, select meats from wild animals or animals which have been raised humanely, allowed ample access to the outside, and fed a species-appropriate weight loss program.
- Don’t let the right be the enemy of the great. In the event you cannot access or afford high-quality meat, just do one of the best you possibly can.
- It doesn’t should be pork. Shellfish, fatty fish, duck, and poultry liver are all highly nutritious alternatives to pork (meat of mammals).
- Eat fresh. Select unprocessed fresh (or freshly frozen) meats every time possible.
- Don’t fear natural animal fats. Fattier cuts of meat are more flavorful, more nutritious, and sometimes cheaper. Unfortunately, pork and poultry fat from conventionally-raised animals may be high in linoleic acid, a fragile omega-6 fatty acid with an inclination to degrade into toxic byproducts that could cause damaging oxidative stress throughout the brain and the remainder of the body.
- Cook gently. Don’t overcook meat, as this may damage nutrients and flavor. Trim away any burned or blackened areas of meats grilled or cooked at high temperatures.
- Take into consideration your protein goal. While protein targets vary depending on age, ideal body weight, health status, activity level, and other aspects, most adult requirements fall somewhere between 0.6 and one gram of protein per pound of ideal body weight. For instance: A lady whose ideal body weight is 125 kilos would require no less than 75 grams of protein per day — roughly the quantity present in one pound of 85% lean ground beef (which incorporates just over five grams of protein per ounce).
- Don’t overdo it. Overeating protein can promote higher insulin levels (and even barely higher glucose levels in some people).
There are many unanswered questions on nutrition, but I’d say the reply to “Does meat belong within the human weight loss program?” is a powerful yes.
Georgia Ede, MD, is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist specializing in nutrition science and brain metabolism. Her 25 years of clinical experience include 12 years as a psychiatrist and nutrition consultant at Smith College and Harvard University Health Services. She can also be the writer of “Change Your Weight loss program, Change Your Mind.”