Meat in Fitness Gains: White or Red?
We’ve covered the importance of protein and amino acids in our previous article. And covering protein without talking about meat is like talking about dairy and not mentioning milk.
Okay, it’s not that critical, because plenty of folks get their daily dosage of protein from eating plants and vegetables, and they feel great.
However, if you’re looking to explore the importance of meat for your fitness progress, you may want to learn about the types of meat that are out there.
Red vs White Meat: Meet the Ultimate Battle
There are two types of meat: red and white meat. It’s pretty much meat and poultry respectively. So when people say red meat, they usually mean beef or pork. White meat, meanwhile, is chicken or turkey.
Okay, but what’s the difference between the two? Is it better to eat red or white meat to put on lean muscles? And what’s best for weight loss?
As you may remember from our blog post about proteins, variety in food is vital. The same goes for the red vs. white meat debate: your best choice would be to eat both lean red and white meat to get the most fitness-friendly nutrients from meat.
White meat is a good choice because of its rich profile of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). In fact, white meat tends to digest quicker, which makes it a perfect meat choice even for a pre-workout meal.
“Well, does it mean I should stop buying all the meat and stick to white meat only?” you’re probably wondering. Not exactly because as with everything there are pros and cons and red meat has its own unique benefits as well. But is all red meat created equal?
Grass-Fed Beef vs Hormone-Fed Beef
The latest surge of anti-hormone, pro-eco campaigns in the food industry divided red meat, and particularly beef, into two categories: grass-fed and hormone-fed.
Whether you eat burgers, steaks or jerky – always look for a grass-fed label, as eating hormone-fed beef can not only play a cruel joke on your fitness gains but also be damaging to your health.
While grass-fed beef is much leaner than hormone-fed beef, it’s also much higher in healthy nutrients, including vitamins and antioxidants. Moreover, like no other food, grass-fed beef is a rich source of a healthy fat called conjugated linoleic acid, which boosts the immune system and targets abdominal fat.
Also, grass-fed beef has about 50% more omega-3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory) than hormone-fed beef.
Note: grass-fed and organic-fed beef are two different things. While both can’t be treated with hormones or antibiotics under the USDA standards, and both must have access to the outdoors, organic-fed beef can be fed with not only vegetarian feed but also grains.
If you’re shopping for meat at a farmer’s market, ask the seller if the cows were given any hormones or antibiotics. Note: don’t expect everyone to be 100% honest with you, as they’re trying to sell their products.
Lean grass-fed beef is good for you. And so is white meat. Consume both and your body will grow in a healthy way.
Eating white meat and alternating between white meat and red meat is your best choice if you want to stay healthy, fit and lean. But remember to always look for lean cuts of meat to avoid any unnecessary fat.
Stay tuned, in the next article we will talk about fish, one of the most important elements of your daily nutrition (which is most likely non-existent in your diet right now).