• Big Lou On: Red Meat

    redmeatRed meat as a staple for bodybuilders has been a big debate in the past couple of decades - with good reason. The world's population is growing increasingly unhealthy. Americans in particular consume more animal protein than most, and red meat can be very fatty. So, in an effort to reduce heart disease and increase the quality of our diets, many agencies and doctors have labeled red meat a "bad" food. IS RED MEAT BAD FOR YOU? Red meat is not a detriment to our health. It is not the "bad guy" in your diet. In fact, it is a very healthy food when consumed properly.
    • Red meat is a complete protein.
    • Red meat is protein dense.
    • Red meat is a rich source of vitamin B12.
    • The vitamin D in meat is absorbed more efficiently than in other foods.
    • Red meat contains significant levels of vital minerals such as zinc, magnesium, copper, cobalt, phosphorus, chromium, nickel, and selenium.
    • Red meat contains primarily heme iron, a form that is absorbed and utilized much more efficiently than the non-heme iron found in plant foods.
    The problem is that many Americans eat red meat every day. Even worse, they are eating the fattiest cuts of meat. Add to that a very calorie dense food, and now you have too many calories and too much fat. So the right answer is to limit red meat to 1-2 times per week, monitor your portions, and choose lean cuts of meat. If you choose to cut it out completely, that's fine too. These days, I eat meat every 4-5 days. Back in my day, we ate meat 3-4 days a week! I don't really eat it because I want it. I eat it because I feel I need it. My body craves it, and so I obey. Red meat's properties are very specific, and I believe that sometimes your body knows best what it needs. (Cravings for Twinkies don't count. I've been there.) DO BODYBUILDERS NEED RED MEAT? [caption id="attachment_13801" align="alignleft" width="300"]BILL PEARL - Does this look like a vegetarian to you? BILL PEARL - Does this look like a vegetarian to you?[/caption] A lot of people ask me if bodybuilders NEED red meat to get big. I say it's a personal preference - with a couple of things to keep in mind. Builders need protein. They need complete proteins. They also need a large amount of vitamins and minerals to sustain healthy growth and make up for all the abuse their bodies go through. So when deciding to cut out a food from your diet - any food - you have to take into account what it provides and make sure you are getting those nutrients elsewhere - preferably from a natural source. If you mention vegetarian and bodybuilding, the first name that comes to mind is Bill Pearl. He is a world class bodybuilder with a number of titles under his belt. And at 39, he became a lacto-ovo vegetarian - he still eats eggs and dairy. Just take a look at the man to this day, and you might drop red meat too! As the four-time Mr. Universe said, "There is nothing magic about eating meat that is going to make you a champion bodybuilder."
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