On Protein – Composition is Important

“Stay away from red meat” “Red meat is high in cholesterol” “Red meat is bad”

Most of us have heard these statements, many times. Quite frankly, I find it confusing given that our Paleolithic ancestors got 45-60% of their daily calories from protein. How do we know this? From the study of current hunter/gatherer populations. Paradoxically, these populations have a reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease and a few other chronic conditions.

So how can these populations eat a vast quantity of red meat and still be healthier? Isn’t red meat full of cholesterol – the exact stuff that causes your arteries to clog up? Well, the red meat that a proportion of hunter/gatherers eat is extremely lean with 2-4% fat by weight, which is largely monounsaturated. The protein we have access to in the grocery stores is 20-25% by weight and it is composed primarily of saturated fat…not the best stuff. This is largely due to the current diet of most cows and pigs – one of grain, grain and more grain. This is not the stuff they were evolved to survive on, but it is the stuff that creates that beautiful marbling effect which we just seem to live for in North America.

So what to do? Well, I appreciate that protein is expensive, especially protein that is grass-fed, massaged, taken to the spa, etc., etc. I don’t have the money to go and purchase the good stuff and therefore cannot tell you to. All I wanted to do, is increase the awareness and understanding about the serious differences between the protein of today and that of the past. Be a savvy shopper – know what you’re eating.

The more you know, the better decisions you can make.

Happy protein-eating.



2 thoughts on “On Protein – Composition is Important

  1. Creating complete proteins through vegetable sources can help to eliminate this concern in the North American diet. I am not necessarily advocating for full vegetarian eating (which can be great). Rather, if we as a culture embraced vegetarian protein options, integrated them into our common diet, and then enjoyed the animal source protein that is readily available, it would improve our health, keep our budget happy and positively impact the environment. Think beans and rice! Yummy beans and rice!

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