We Eat Too Much Meat!

Filed under Healthy Cooking 101

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

Ted Kallmyer is an ISSA certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition, author, and macros coach. He has helped hundreds of clients reach their body transformation goals.
Updated September 27, 2017

44 Comments

  • Martina Moretti 11 months ago

    Hi, I’m a 21 years old girl and I’ve decided to stop eating meat for ethical and
    environmental sustainability reasons. My parents are worried about my health since I’m surelly going to have a loss of iron and B12 Vitamine. I want to know what is the minimun amount of meat that I’d have to eat in a month (let’s say) to have an healthy diet. (I’m 160 cm – 5′ 2 – and 53 kg – 116 lbs -)

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 11 months ago

      Hi Martina, There’s no reason your diet can’t be healthy by not eating meat. I recommend that you take some B vitamin and iron supplements if you’re worried about that. Many leafy green vegetables are high in iron anyway.

      Reply
  • Porsche Beckstead

    I am 5’9 325 lbs I am wondering how much meat should I eat to get healthy I haven’t been eating a lot of it and I have lost muscle and it’s affecting me greatly

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

      Hi Porsche, You’d want to aim for 120-150 grams of protein per day.

      Reply
  • Cathy

    Hi, wanted to know how much a person who wants to lose weight (currently at 160 lbs) needs to eat per day if they want to get down to 145lbs. I did the math, and it seems I need only 3.32 ounces of meet. Is that the full daily amount of meat that I can eat? Please clarify. Thank you.

    Reply
  • Kelly-Anne

    Thank you for this article. It help me in my literature review on meat consumption and its effect on the body

    Reply
  • Illia

    Thank you for this article. I am currently studying the topic about reducing of the meat consumption. First reason for me to do this is to find ways to be less involved in killing animals by eating much of their meat. This article provides good option for getting protein from different kinds of meals. Bio-availability chart was a good illustration for me.

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

      Hi Illia, Great! glad this was helpful. All the best with your project.

      Reply
  • Rita Pistey

    I would like to become vegan in proper way but I do not know how

    Reply
  • Flexible Dieter I hate Broccoli

    I have to disagree.

    Firstly, the Macros are very off for Weight loss. When losing weight you want to preserve as much lean body mass and not feel hungry, by eliminating the protein amount you will lower your Essential Amino Acid rate thus causing loss of lean mass and eating more protein makes you feel less hungry thus feeling satiated (Thermogenic effect). Secondly, in reference to the Red meat consumption, the amount you have to eat on a daily basis is beyond human consumption and also does not take into account other factors of your diet like alcohol intake or if they are drug addicts. Thirdly, getting your protein from plant sources is worse since they lack EAC so some have higher content of Leucine whereas others have higher content of Isolucine. Bottom line is, for anyone who wants to lose weight, I recommend flexibale dieting since it’s much easier than making your life miserable by eating tons of broccoli everyday. Best thing is to have a little snack every 3 days like Kit Kat, Snickers etc. (As long as you keep a deficit) to keep you on track and adherent to your diet and then you can have a REAL cheat meal like Ice Cream or Oreos 😄.

    Reply
  • Bruinsma

    So i have a Protein Source index table and my body weight. Giving me my protein requirement. How many grams of chicken does one need to reach the 97.5 grams protein?

    Reply