You Don't Have to Give Up Red Meat to Be Healthy

The latest dietary guidelines encourage us to eat less red meat. Thankfully, Nutrition Diva is here to show you how to have your steak and eat it too.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
4-minute read
Episode #326

4 Ways to Make Red Meat Healthy

Eating meat (red or otherwise) is strictly optional, of course. But if you want to include red meat in your diet, I think you can. And how you prepare it, how much of it you eat, and what you eat with it all matter. Here are 4 guidelines for keeping it healthy:

  1. Keep it wet.  Cooking red meat with moist heat helps prevent the formation of inflammatory and carcinogenic compounds  Stewing, braising, sous-vide, and slow-cookers are all excellent methods. As a bonus, these cooking methods are a great way to tenderize less expensive cuts of meat. 

  2. Spice it up. If you want to grill, broil, or roast your meat, you can greatly decrease the formation of harmful compounds by using marinades and spice rubs. I have more details on that in my episode on Grilled Meat and Cancer

  3. Pair with potatoes. Researchers have discovered that eating more resistant starch might block the cancer-promoting effects of red meat in the colon. Whole grains and legumes contain resistant starch. Cooking and cooling potatoes and pasta also creates resistant starch. So pair that burger or steak with some pasta or potato salad, whole grain pilaf, or twice baked potatoes. See also: What Are Resistant Starches?

  4. Don't eat it every day. So often, we take an overly black-and-white view of foods. A food is either good for you, in which case you should eat it in massive quantities. Or it's bad for you, in which case, it should never pass your lips. How about something in between? Red meat is a nutritious food - but one that should be enjoyed in moderation and as part of a varied diet.


Humphreys KJ, Conlon MA, et al.  Dietary manipulation of oncogenic microRNA expression in human rectal mucosa: a randomized trial. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2014 Aug;7(8):786-95.

Norat T, Lukanova A, Ferrari P, Riboli E. Meat consumption and colorectal cancer risk: dose-response meta-analysis of epidemiological studies. Int J Cancer. 2002 Mar 10;98(2):241-56.

Pan A, Sun Q, Bernstein AM, et al. Red Meat Consumption and Mortality: Results from Two Prospective Cohort Studies. Archives of internal medicine. 2012;172(7):555-563. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.2287.

 Uribarri J, Woodruff S,et al. Advanced glycation end products in foods and a practical guide to their reduction in the diet. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Jun;110(6):911-16.e12.


About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show. 

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