Why Red Meat?

Answered on June 24, 2016
Created June 21, 2016 at 8:38 PM

Hey there Paleo Hacks,

I've been eating Paleo for the last few years and have been to all the extremes, high protein, very low carb/very high fat, even high carb/vegetarian and ocassionally cheated (not without resulting health issues), although for the most part I've stayed within the Paleo template.

It was initially issues with sugar metabolism that made me look into diets with less refined carbohydrates, I liked the idea of eating what my ancestors ate, not because I think that's optimal (we're still evolving) but simply as if my ancestors survived long enough to make me, they must've been doing something right, right?

Due to the conventional wisdom/propaganda against red meat I've mostly been pescetarian for the last decade, when I first started looking into the Ancestral health movement I reintroduced red meat but didn't notice any health benefits, I stayed with seafood as I heard it was more easily digested and healthier (omega 3s etc) than red meat... after another period of having only seafood and some chicken for my protein I recently reintroduced red meat again, I can't quite believe how great i feel! It's astonishing, I feel like my brain has switched on, I'm maintaining/gaining lean mass, I also have much more energy and strength. The energy I'm giving off is fantastic and my relationships are even improving as a result.

I'm thinking perhaps i was borderline deficient in Iron or Zinc, and the extra bioavailability of these nutrients in red meat is having an effect, or I'm just eating what my genes have been programmed for as my ancestors ate plenty of red meat? (I'm a caucasian British male)

I've already been eating plenty of Salmon, Mackerel, low carb veggies, MUFAs and have been hitting all my RDAs consistently. I'm just wondering how such a profound change can come by simply switching to eating more red meat?

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on June 22, 2016
at 02:58 PM

I tend to give a lot of credit to evolution and the lifestyle of our ancestors.

I believe you are correct is saying that you are eating a diet more properly aligned with the way you've evolved to eat. Low red meat, vegetarian, etc. is long-term damaging to your body, and you will likely be lacking in more than just iron.

Red meat provides a greater fat resource if you still follow low-carb-high-fat. It provides your body with the resources to greater repair muscle and produce testosterone. Many benefits. I eat red meat without moderation, and my levels consisitently come back clean at doctors' visits.


on June 22, 2016
at 01:48 PM

Red meats good for you, so eat it. Don't think you were in danger from dropping dead at a young age from not eating it, however its clearly given you some essential nutrients you've been missing. Just remember grass fed is pretty much necessary for ruminants, but if you can't get it, then get the leanest,freshest cuts you can find and cook them in a healthy fat like grass fed lard, duck/goose fat, coconut oil or decent quality avocado/olive oil at a low heat, or slow cook that bad boy until its nice and tender! Delicious!

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on June 24, 2016
at 06:31 AM

I can't comment on individual answers for some reason but appreciate the responses. :) I am still low carb/high fat and find that red meat was the missing link in having energy eating this way, I still eat my green veggies but feel red meat is the most important aspect of my diet. It can be hard to find fatty cuts so will also buy cheaper lean cuts and cook them in good quality fat.


I used to think that eating seafood was more ethical than red meat as I felt ok with hunting fish, then I worked it out that I'd be eating ~1 cow per year, which I'm completely comfortable with. I function so well eating this way I actually think the whole red meat propaganda is a bit of a conspiracy.


As for the nutrients, I'm thinking that carnitine is one of the important ones as I've been having trouble with fat metabolism which seems to be clearing up, I've read that L-carnitine plays an important role in mitochondrial β-Oxidation. I've also noticed my libido shoot through the roof which may be Zinc causing a boost in testosterone as previously mentioned, my favorite effect though is the improved mood and memory. I just wish I could get back all those years where I've been eating sub-optimally by avoiding red meat, although I am now glad that my parents fed me steak as a kid!

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