Red meat is raw meat that is red and does not turn white once cooked. Basically, all mammal meat is considered red meat. White meat is the term used to refer to poultry meat. White meat is also used to refer to meats that are lighter in color, as compared to red meat.
The Good and Bad of Red Meat
Beef, pork, veal and lamb are all considered red meats. It is generally recommended to eat lean red meat over those that still have fat in it. Red meat is an excellent source of iron. It is also a very good source of protein, creatine and the powerful antioxidant Alpha-lipoic acid. It also contains phosphorous and zinc, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and vitamin D. In fact, it has now been recognized that red meat is one of the largest sources of vitamin D. Teenagers, women who are still in their reproductive years, and elderly people are recommended to not deprive themselves from eating red meat as it may lead to a deficiency in nutrients that are found abundantly in red meat.
Regular consumption of red meat has been associated with a number of diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular diseases. A particular type of cancer that is associated with red meat consumption is colorectal cancer, while red meat’s high saturated fat content is said to be the major cause of cardiovascular diseases. Other health conditions that are associated with red meat include arthritis, obesity and hypertension.
The Good and Bad of White Meat
Most white meat is lean and thus is associated with low fat content. Although it is generally said that poultry meat contains lower amounts of fat, this can only be true if the skin is taken off. Skinless white meat offers the lowest amount of calories and fat, but only if it has not been fried, smothered in gravy or sauces or covered with cheese. Poultry meat is a good source of B vitamins, but only fair amounts of iron. Chicken meat is not a very good source of heme iron. Heme iron is that iron that is found in meats and is absorbed easily by the body.
Which is Better?
Both beef and chicken or poultry meat contain the same amounts of cholesterol. Both types of meat can also lead to certain medical conditions if consumed in excess, although there are more studies associating red meat to diseases.
Both types of meat are still recommended in moderation, as there are nutrients that are present in red meat that is not found in white meat. There is no question however, that skinless white meat has significantly lower fat content than red meat.