There are plenty of arguments against eating too much meat these days – health, the environment, animal cruelty – and no shortage of people ready to shout at you why you should be reducing your consumption.
But if you’re less concerned about macro issues and more worried about how much you consume for reasons to do with your own personal body, you might be wondering what science and health experts recommend.
Which, in that case, I’ve got you covered.
Or at least, the Heart Foundation of Australia does.
They’ve published updated recommendations for red meat, eggs, and dairy, and, honestly, people have been caught a bit off guard by what they say.
For red meat, it’s recommended that we eat a maximum of 350g per week – that’s just two servings of beef, lamb, pork, or veal every seven days.
The average burger patty is around 200g, and a small steak is around 100g (a dinner steak would be more like 150-200g).
Australians, like Americans, eat a lot of red meat – an average of around 250g a DAY, which works out to 1750g every week.
Clearly, that is far above the recommended levels.
Health officials would like to see people substitute Omega-3 rich fish, lentils, beans, chickpeas, and kidney beans for at least some portions of their usual red meat intake.
Eggs are considered great sources of both proteins and vitamins and minerals, but they should be enjoyed in moderation due to high levels of cholesterol (though you can safely have 1 or 2 a day, unless you have risk factors like high cholesterol, heart disease, or diabetes).
And the HFA actually recommends that people look into including more full fat dairy into their diets (whole milk, full fat greek yogurt) because it increases blood glucose and make you feel fuller throughout the day, which can actually help reduce total calorie intake (except, again for people with heart issues and high cholesterol). They also say it’s not a bad idea to consider adding some non-milk ‘dairy’ into your diet, like almond milk or cashew cheese.
Basically, we all need to take a hard look at increasing our fruit and vegetable intake. The two food groups contain loads of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that can help reduce our risk of heart disease and diabetes, unlike processed foods rich in sugar, fat, and salt, which contribute heavily to weight gain and poor cardiovascular health.
To sum up: you can enjoy your burger or steak, but just say yes to a big side of broccoli, too.