Is red meat actually bad for your health?

Is red meat actually bad for your health?

Updated: Aug 11, 2023Veronika Larisova

Yes and no. If you were looking for a straight answer it’s slightly more complicated than you might think. We’re here to simplify it for you so the next time you bite into your steak (or a Chief Meat bar), you do so worry-free and guilt-free. Our guest writer, Dr Naras Lapsys (dietitian and longevity medicine practitioner) explains… 

Recently the World Health Organisation (WHO) created a media frenzy by releasing a report stating that red and processed meats are cancer causing (carcinogenic) agents. They reviewed over 800 research papers and concluded that eating processed meat such as bacon, deli meats and sausages were linked with colorectal cancer and that red meat is ‘probably’ carcinogenic.

As frightening as this all sounds, the announcement needs to be viewed in context. There may well be a link between consuming these foods and cancer, however the risk itself is very, very small. In truth though, this news isn’t a surprise and only confirms long standing general health messages that we should not be eating excessive amounts of processed and red meat.

The WHO report identified that if a person consumes a 50g portion of processed meat per day, he or she increases their risk of getting colon cancer by 18%. Again, putting this information into context, this degree of risk increase is about the same as other colon cancer risk factors such as being physically sedentary, overweight, or having a low vegetable or grain intake. So, the take home message here really is that moderation is the key.

So how do the WHO’s findings relate back to Chief Beef Bars and Biltong?

I for one, would find it very difficult to ever categorise the meat sourced in Chief Bars and Biltong as 'processed meat'. It just is not. 

The meat in a Chief Beef Bars and Biltong is organic, grass fed and cured without using any harmful nitrates or other potentially toxic chemicals. Furthermore, the curing process does not involve cooking the meat at high temperatures, a process that has been well established as producing very toxic products called advanced glycation end products or AGEs. So processed meat, it is not.

Now yes, Chief bars do contain red meat. However, we must remember the consumption of red meat also has its own health benefits, like the heart healthy oleic acid and the very valuable haem ironChief Beef bars are an excellent source of unprocessed red meat and can most certainly be incorporated into the most healthy of eating patterns.

Want to learn more? 

This is one of the world's leading integrative doctors. He’s worth a follow. Summary, go for well sourced meat in moderation. Avoid highly processed deli meats (includes many jerky style products with added nitrates, nitrites and more) and cooking at high temperatures like frying. Go for slow cooked or in the case of our products, slow dried which is the healthiest option because it retains more heat sensitive vitamins like Vitamin B. 


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