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Is Meat Fattening?

Por Nydia Rivera Alcaide* -

Just like any other food, meat is fattening when eaten in excess.

If you eat 2 pork chops instead of 1, you'll provide your body with much more fat than it needs and, therefore, more calories. Likewise, if you prefer to eat pork chops instead of pork loin, or fry the meat instead of roasting it, you will be stuffing your body with calories. "There is no such thing as foods that make you fat. Food is neither good nor bad, what can be bad is how we prepare it and how much we eat of it," points out Dr. Eleazar Lara-Pantin, MyDiet's nutrition specialist.

Like other foods, meat has many positive nutritional attributes. "Meat is a high-quality source of protein and you can obtain the benefits from products of animal origin by eating them in moderation," adds Dr. Lara-Pantin. Meat is also a good source of iron, vitamin B complex, and zinc.

Find out which meat has less fat

If you're a happy carnivore, like many people, and don't want to eliminate meat from your diet, you must learn to eat it right. The main concern is its fat content and the calories that fat provides to the body. First of all, select quality cuts of meat. At the supermarket, check the package for the type of meat, nutritional information, cut, origin, etc. Choosing lean cuts is the key. These don't have excess or visible fat.

Examples of lean cuts include: · flank steak 
· pork loin or sirloin
· reduced-fat ground beef (40% less fat than regular ground beef)
· lean hamburger beef
· skinless poultry, such as chicken and turkey

Lean beef without visible fat provides more or less the same amount of calories, regardless of the type of animal. For example, if you compare 100 grams of lean beef with 100 grams of chicken, beef is not more fattening than chicken.

In the United States, lean meat is available in several cuts. You should choose "choice" or "select" cuts. The select cut has 5 to 20% less fat than the choice cut and 40% less fat than the prime cut.

Some of the least recommended meat cuts include:
· regular hamburger meat, which contains up to 30% fat
· bacon
· sausage
· ribs

Regardless of your choice, remember to remove any visible fat from meat or poultry before cooking it. Otherwise, it will melt when cooked and stick to the meat’s fiber, becoming very difficult to eliminate, and it will end up in your system. Visible fat means excess fat, which increases the risk of contracting heart disease.

Learn how much to eat, and how to cook it

The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends not consuming more than 3 ounces of red meat a day. Servings of beef, poultry, pork or fish shouldn't exceed 3 ounces either. Two ounces equal a piece of chicken and 3 ounces, a piece of meat the size of the palm of your hand.

Considering these servings, grilling your meat will provide only 3 grams of fat per serving; if fried, it'll have 30 grams. The gist: avoid fried meats or meats with gravy.

Excess fat, cholesterol and bacteria from animal products are related to several ailments, such as heart disease and cancer. The worst type of fat for your health is saturated fat, which is usually found in red meat, in all animal products or in the fats which remain solid at room temperature.

If you love to eat meat, remember to do so in moderation. To add a touch of variety and good nutrition, you can also replace meat with beans and several types of vegetables in some dishes.

*Nydia Rivera is a writer and journalist on staff at DrTango, Inc.


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