Friday, October 16, 2015


More than nine out of ten people in the UK eat meat, making it one of our staple foods. The Eatwell Plate includes red meat within the protein section while studies show that red meat is a good source of B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium and selenium [1]. Red meat even contributes around a fifth of our vitamin D intake in the UK and is the most bioavailable source of iron and zinc in the diet.

All these nutrients come in a healthier package as red meat is now up to 30% lower in fat than it was in the 1950s. This is due to improvements in animal breeding and feeding, as well as more skilful butchers. Grilled sirloin steak now contains less than 8% fat while roast pork leg contains less than 6% fat [2]. Surprisingly, a 100g portion of cooked red meat is less than 200 calories while a similar amount of grilled salmon would be 240 calories.

By following current advice on red meat consumption – up to 500g cooked weight per week – we can benefit from the rich protein and nutrient content of red meat while keeping intakes in balance with other helpful foods.

[1] Ruxton CHS et al. (2013) Micronutrient challenges across the age spectrum: Is there a role for red meat? British Nutrition Foundation Bulletin, 38, 178-190.
[2] Calculated from McCance & Widdowson’s Composition of Foods.