Nutrition – what’s in meat and where else can I get it?

Meat is the best source of protein isn’t it? And what about iron and vitamin B12? All nonsense, meat doesn’t contain anything of nutritional benefit that you can’t find in healthier foods. What it does have though is hormones, antibiotics and a whole host of other unsavoury ingredients that will be discussed later.

All muscle tissue contains protein, including all of the essential amino acids. Most types of meat contain iron, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, vitamins B2, B3, B6, B12 and choline. Some meat also provides vitamin K. Muscle and organ tissue contains little or no carbohydrate and does not contain any dietary fibre. Most meats contain extremely low levels of calcium, negligible amounts of beta carotene and vitamin E, and no vitamin C.

Meat does contain cholesterol and is a rich source of unhealthy saturated fat, linked to obesity and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Other undesirable compounds in processed meat include potentially carcinogenic substances: N-nitroso compounds – nitrosamines or nitrosamides (NOCs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs). The iron in red and processed meat (haem iron) has been implicated in the risk of cancer. Non-haem iron from plant foods offers all the benefits of iron without this risk.