We Eat Too Much Meat!

By Ted KallmyerUpdated September 11, 2022

Anytime healthy eating is discussed one of the most controversial subjects is that of eating meat.

There are many different views concerning its inclusion in a human’s diet and I personally feel every side of the issue has some good points as well as some bad points.

The one thing that I’m pretty certain of is this: In general, those following a typical western diet eat too much of it!

While the protein found in meat is useful for repairing and building our bodies, we certainly don’t need a large portion of meat with every meal.

With this article I hope to portray a more balanced approach to eating meat as part of a healthy diet.

Protein Bio-Availability

Before I get into some practical suggestions on eating meat, let’s look at some common meat and vegetable protein sources in regards to how they compare biologically.

The chart below shows the bio-availability of different protein sources. The higher the number, the better your body is able to utilize the protein.

Protein Source

Bio-Availability Index

Whey Protein Isolate Blends 100-159
Whey Concentrate 104
Whole Egg 100
Cow’s Milk 91
Egg White 88
Fish 83
Beef 80
Chicken 79
Casein 77
Rice 74
Soy 59
Wheat 54
Beans 49
Peanuts 43

As you can see, not all sources of protein are created equally, but generally all of the most popular meats we tend to eat are about the same.

How Much Meat to Eat?

The amount of meat that you need to eat is highly dependent on what your goals are.

But, as I mentioned earlier the traditional mindset of having a large portion of meat with each meal isn’t ideal for your health or the environment.

It takes a lot of resources to create a pound of meat for human consumption.

Typical daily protein requirements:

  • Weight loss = .65 grams per pound of body weight.
  • Maintain muscle = .65 gram per pound of body weight.
  • Build muscle = 1 gram per pound of body weight.

So, a person weighing 150 pounds would need 97.5 grams of protein per day.

Our macro calculator uses these ratios when calculating your daily protein amounts.

However, this doesn’t mean that all the protein has to come from animal sources, but the suggested amount is protein from all dietary sources.

11 Tips for Eating Meat Healthfully

  1. Choose poultry, fish, and eggs as your primary source of animal protein. Eggs have the highest protein bioavailability and poultry and fish are much leaner than beef or pork.
  2. Limit rich meats like beef and pork to once or twice per week. Studies have linked the high consumption of red meat to colon cancer.1
  3. Skip the breakfast meat. Add another egg instead since it is a better source of protein. However, don’t deprive yourself of the joy of bacon, have it once per week.
  4. Avoid processed meats. Lunch meats usually have preservatives and are high in sodium.
  5. Marinate meat to make lean cuts of meat more tender. A good marinade has to have an acid like lemon juice or vinegar in order to work.
  6. Choose hormone free, free range or grass fed meat when possible. This can be hard for those on a budget but luckily this trend is becoming more popular, which is increasing competition and lowering prices.
  7. Buy meat from local farmers or butchers. Most meat in chain supermarkets comes from just a few national meat packing plants. By buying local you know exactly where your meat is coming from and how long it’s been from slaughter to your table.
  8. Avoid cooking meat with breading or frying in oil. This adds a lot of extra calories. Grilling, roasting, baking, or broiling are great healthy cooking methods.
  9. Aim for at least one meatless meal per day. Get your protein through nuts, seeds, grains, and vegetables instead.
  10. When eating out choose fish or chicken entrée options. Apart from the fried varieties, they usually have less fat and calories but just as much protein.
  11. Eat your portion of meat with more veggies. Skip the high calorie, starchy sides that usually accompany meat.

In conclusion, I just want to stress that there are many ways to eat healthy and this can be different for different people.  Vegetarians can be as healthy as meat eaters and vice versa.

If you choose to eat meat as part of your diet then hopefully this article will help you to do so in a more healthful way.

Do you have any healthy guidelines to share about eating meat?  

Scientific Reference:

Parr, C. L., Hjartåker, A., Lund, E., & Veierød, M. B. (2013). Meat intake, cooking methods and risk of proximal colon, distal colon and rectal cancer: The Norwegian Women and Cancer (NOWAC) cohort study. International Journal of Cancer, 133(5), 1153-1163. Study Link

Discover the best path to achieving your optimal health and fitness goals

Take a quiz