09/02/2016 11:54 EDT | Updated 09/02/2016 11:59 EDT

Weighing The Pros And Cons Of Red Meat

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Raw Organic Grass Fed Sirloin Steak with Salt and Pepper

In moderation, red meat is a healthy food, right?

That's what we've always been told, haven't we?

Well, what if the truth is both "yes" and "no?"

That's because most meat isn't what it used to be. What's typically sold in supermarkets isn't what our ancestors ate. And it sure isn't as healthy.

But there's no need to despair. If you pay a little extra, these days you can find organic, traditionally-farmed meat. And if you're a carnivore, then that's the kind that you'll thrive on. (I'll explain why in a moment.)

Why There's Drugs In Your Dinner

Since the 1950s, the meteoric rise of intensive factory farming to its dominant position in the global food industry has changed meat forever.

In fact, the modern-day meat comes from a feedlot cow that consumes a diet of grain (usually corn) and various recycled animal proteins and fats. It's also often laced with residues of antibiotics and hormones.

Drugs aside, it's also fattier and more acidic than what your great-grandparents would have been accustomed to.

By far the biggest concern, however, is that factory-farmed meat has typically been adulterated with powerful growth-promoting drugs.

More often than not, these antibiotics aren't even used to treat illnesses. Instead, they're systematically dosed out to cattle in unregulated quantities because they've been shown to fast-forward growth cycles.

And that translates into bigger corporate profits. But it can leave drug residues in the meat.

As a consequence of this over-use of medical science's front-line antibiotics, doctors are becoming increasingly concerned about their long-term impact on humans. What's most problematic is that this type of chemical contamination is causing some people to develop an immunity to life-saving antibiotics.

How to Minimize Your Exposure To Chemically-Altered Beef

If eating organic meat is not always a viable option for you, don't' worry. Here's what you can do to avoid drugs in factory-farmed meat.

First, keep in mind that most drug residues are found in the meat's fat, rather than in the muscle. So the least problematic choice is to opt for cuts like extra-lean loins, New York strips, rounds, and sirloins.

Fattier cuts -- which are very popular because they often have a richer flavor -- include T-bone and porterhouse steaks, as well as prime ribs. Some of them (which are always big sellers in restaurants) contain up to 45 per cent more fat than leaner cuts.

And that often means more chemical residues, too.

Benefits Of Organic, Drug-Free Red Meat

If you still want to enjoy some of the richer, more succulent cuts of meats and do it guilt-free, then choose organic beef.

First, you're avoiding potentially harmful chemical adulterants.

Second, grass-fed and grass-finished beef cattle are have significantly less saturated fat -- as well as far fewer calories -- than grain-fed factory-farmed cattle. For instance, a 3.5-ounce serving of grass-fed beef typically contains about 2.4 grams of fat, as opposed to 16.3 grams for industrially-raised beef.

The meat of traditionally-raised (organic) cattle also contains plenty of health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids, which can actually lower -- or even prevent -- subclinical inflammation, as well as fend off heart disease. Undoctored meat also has relatively low amounts of omega-6 fatty acids.

Conversely, factory-farmed beef contains these essential acids in the opposite proportions. And some health experts say this dietary imbalance causes subclinical inflammation -- a damaging, pro-aging process that takes place at a cellular level. This type of

hidden inflammation has been linked to all sorts of degenerative health conditions. They include a weakened heart, cancer, autoimmunity ailments e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, neurodegenerative diseases, obesity, depression, dyslexia, and even hyperactivity.

So choose your red meat wisely to stay youthful and healthy. If you have to eat factory-farmed beef, do it in moderation to avoid pro-aging internal inflammation, an internal acidic overload, and weakening bones.

All in all, you can learn to thrive on the inside and outside for decades to come by making the necessary adjustments to your diet. This way, you can continue to enjoy the most prized food in the history of humankind.

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