Is beef healthy

Beef or Pork, Which Is Healthier?

Is Beef Healthier Than Pork? Or is it the other way around? There is no general answer to that. Because even if it comes from the same animal, not all meat is the same. Which cut ends up on the plate, how it was cooked, and who eats it are just a few of the variables in this equation with lots of unknowns.

So let's sort it in order and start with the possible and common entry-level definition for meat: red or white. The dilemma begins there, because there is no binding definition. With "red meat" one usually means types of meat that look red or reddish when uncooked - in contrast to "white meat" which is pale in color. A protein in muscle meat called myoglobin gives meat its distinctive color. The higher the myoglobin content, the redder the uncooked meat appears. Poultry meat has relatively little myoglobin, which is why it appears considerably paler than beef, which has a lot of it. By the way, a certain component of myoglobin actually gives color: heme iron. But does that bring us closer to an answer?

This article is featured in Spectrum Compact, Eat Healthy - A Medical Look at the Plate

Red, white or pink

In fact: red meat usually does worse than white in scientific studies. Since 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been warning against consuming too much red meat (which means too much, we'll get to that later), mainly because it categorized it as potentially carcinogenic. And beef is - without question - red meat. With its delicate pink, pork can be assigned less clearly, and so it can be found sometimes in this, sometimes in that category.

The professional world is divided over this assessment. Some consider the WHO declaration to be exaggerated - after all, the real culprit is far from being identified. Diseases of civilization such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer are linked to excessive meat consumption, as nutritionists agree. But which ingredients in meat products influence which processes in the body in such a way that one becomes ill is still the big question at the moment.

Viruses in beef?

At least there are suspicions: It has been observed in several studies that people who consume a lot of beef are more likely to develop colon cancer. Viruses or components of viruses that had also been found in beef could be detected in the cancer cells. Some scientists suspect that the risk of cancer could be reduced if the cattle were vaccinated against the virus in question. To do this, however, the viruses would first have to be precisely identified, and a vaccine would have to be developed.

The Nobel Prize for Medicine, Harald zur Hausen, is also concerned with the question of whether a diet with beef can cause cancer in humans. Viral components, which can also be found in beef, could, in combination with other factors, cause neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis - according to Hausen's hypothesis.