Nutritional Aspects Of Meat

The major nutritional components of the meat of all species from fish through poultry to pork and so-called red meats are protein and iron. Although the protein contribution is obvious, the iron contribution is often underrated. Iron deficiency is the most common nutrition disorder, and non-anemic iron deficiency is far more insidious in its effects than normally considered. Even contributes to an impairment of cognitive function (124). Meat is one of the main natural sources of iron (Table 1). The fat component of meat provides desirable energy in certain malnourished communities, but it is possibly erroneously becoming increasingly regarded as a useless by-product in our overfed Western societies. Meat should be regarded as a valuable component of a balanced diet, rather than as a food item providing unwanted calories. The fat component may be either nonseparable fat, as is usually found in the lean of meat, or separable fat that is visible and can be trimmed off. As separable fat can be removed, it comes into the same food category as the skin of vegetables like potatoes or carrots, and therefore the consumer has a choice as to whether to consume it. Diets of meat animals with a high energy content result in the animals having extensive fat deposits; this even extends to the lean in substantial amounts, to give marbling. The contribution of meat to health has been reviewed (126,127).

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