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From burgers to carne asada, Latinos eat more beef or red meat than any other racial/ethnic group, according to the USDA.
That isn’t a good thing for health, research shows.
Red meat and processed meat, like bacon and hot dogs, have been linked to certain types of cancer and cardiovascular disease—the two top causes of death for Latinos.
USDA dietary guidelines even recently recommend cutting back on red meat in exchange for other proteins, dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and fruits.
Here’s a few ways meat-lovers can achieve these guidelines.
Limiting red meat
The American Heart Association recommends that people limit lean beef, skinless chicken and fish to less than six ounces per day.
“In general, red meats (beef, pork and lamb) have more cholesterol and saturated (bad) fat than chicken, fish and vegetable proteins such as beans,” according to the AHA. “Cholesterol and saturated fat can raise your blood cholesterol and make heart disease worse.”
If you do eat meat, use these tips to lower the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol.
- One portion of meat is about the size of a deck of cards or three ounces.
- Choose lean cuts of meat. Lean cuts usually contain the words “round,” “loin” or “sirloin” on the package.
- Trim off as much fat as you can before cooking, and pour off the melted fat after cooking.
- Use healthier cooking methods: bake, broil, stew and grill.
AHA says you don’t have to eat meat to get the nutrients your body needs.
“There are many healthy ways to get enough protein,” according to the AHA. “Chicken and fish have less saturated fat than most red meat. The unsaturated fats in fish, such as salmon, actually…may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.”
How to eat lean beef
Dr. Kevin Campbell, a cardiologist at the University of North Carolina, had some extra suggestions about how to eat lean beef, in an op-ed.
Lean beef has less than 10 grams of total fat and 4.5 grams or fewer of saturated fat per 3.5-ounce serving, Campbell said.
- Look for cuts with “round” or “loin” in the name.
- For Ground Beef, choose 96% extra lean (4% fat).
- Trim off any excess fat before cooking.
- Enjoy smart portions. If you are not sure what the appropriate portion size for lean protein is, use your smart phone as a guide. A single 3-ounce serving of beef is about the size of a standard smart phone.
- Stick to an overall heart-healthy DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which, in addition to including lean protein, is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.
“Dietary research supports the fact that adding more variety to protein choices – like lean beef – in a DASH diet can be especially important in helping people enjoy and stick to heart-healthy diets long term,” Campbell wrote in the op-ed.