I was out to dinner the other night with some friends and one of the girls was surprised with my order, braised veal with balsamic vinegar, marinated in a fine olive oil. Delicious! The lady friend (knowing I am a dietitian/health conscious) asked, “Do you often eat red meat?” I told her I don’t eat it every meal but I’d never hold back if it was something I wanted.
She then dove into the curiosity of red meat’s bad rap and how fat should be shunned. I quickly suggested that (some) public health advice is all wrong.
I am so passionate about diffusing mixed health messages that I found emotion in my explanation. This was not exactly the ideal dinner conversation but I briefly explained the politics involved in health information.
However, I want to note that not all health information is skewed. Yet, as far as red meat and fat, it’s okay and we indeed should consume them both. Red meat supplies ample nutrients such as iron, zinc, protein and more. And fat is essential for energy and daily functions.
The blurred messages on the benefits of meat/fat started during what Gary Tuabes calls, “The Eisenhower Paradox.” This paradox is an explanation of how politics muddied health advise. I am suggesting Tuabe’s research because it’s credible and well supported, and much more precise than I could ever draft.
1. Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease or any other chronic disease of civilization.
2. The problem is the carbohydrates in the diet, their effect on insulin secretion and so the hormonal regulation of homeostasis — the entire harmonic ensemble of the human body. The more easily-digestible and refined the carbohydrates, the greater the effect on our health, weight and well-being.
3. Sugars – sucrose and high fructose corn syrup specifically – are particularly harmful, probably because the combination of fructose and glucose simultaneously elevate insulin levels while overloading the liver with carbohydrates.
4. Through their direct effect on insulin and blood sugar, refined carbohydrates, starches and sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart disease and diabetes. They are the most likely dietary causes of cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease and the other chronic diseases of civilization.
5. Obesity is a disorder of excess fat accumulation not overeating and not sedentary behavior.
6. Consuming excess calories does not cause us to grow fatter any more than it causes a child to grow taller. Expending more energy than we consume does not lead to long-term weight loss; it leads to hunger.
7. Fattening and obesity are caused by an imbalance – a disequilibrium — in the hormonal regulation of adipose tissue and fat metabolism: Fat synthesis and storage exceeds the mobilization of fat from the adipose tissue and its subsequent oxidation. We become leaner when the hormonal regulation of the fat tissue reverses this balance.
8. Insulin is the primary regulator of fat storage. When insulin levels are elevated – either chronically or after a meal – we accumulate fat in our fat tissue. When insulin levels fall, we release fat from our fat tissue and use it for fuel.
9. By stimulating insulin secretion, carbohydrates make us fat and ultimately cause obesity. The less carbohydrates we consume, the leaner we will be.
10. By driving fat accumulation, carbohydrates also increase hunger and decrease the amount of energy we expend in metabolism and physical activity.
I hope this helps you better understand how to eat and that red meat and fat should not be avoided.
Cheers to you and good health!