Are you one of the many who have given up on red meat in your diet? Well, before we all leap to conclusions, let’s see what the beef really is.


A generation ago, beef was considered the cornerstone of a good diet, and now it is being treated as if it were a headstone. Sales of the product have plummeted, largely in response to a public concern about the connection between cholesterol and heart disease.  But it should be remembered that a lot of what drives this public habit is based on hearsay, so we should at least set the record straight.

First of all, beef is not everyone’s bread and butter. For those who are true vegetarians, and object on moral grounds to eating any animal products, a full and healthy diet can certainly be obtained. Mind you, to be truly consistent on this score, one should not wear leather shoes or belts for all the same reasons. But if you are shifting from beef to other forms of animal meats, there are a few facts that may surprise you. Beef is not as fatty as it used to be. Compared with thirty years ago, beef is now fifty per cent leaner and a fifth lower in cholesterol. A serving of inside round steak has as little fat and cholesterol as an equal serving of roast chicken without the skin, or as little fat as a half cup of regular cottage cheese.

Ounce for ounce, lean beef has the same amount of cholesterol as a serving of sole. So even though the switch away from beef is motivated by a desire to decrease cholesterol, the unwary who instead have fried chicken, or fried fish are actually getting more fat into their bodies instead of less.

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Here’s an action tip:

The object of today’s healthy nutrition is to eat a balanced diet, higher in fiber, and lower in fat. For most people, the only concession they have made is to cut their red meat consumption in half, then treat themselves to fat laden granola bars or oat muffins. By all means, eat a healthy diet, as suggested by the Heart Association, but please consult your doctor or nutritionist for specific review of your food needs.

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