Types of Meat: List of Meats With Their Benefits, Concerns and Nutrition Facts

Pin on PinterestShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone
List of meats
Advertisement

Many types of meat have been the staple diet for humans since the start of time. The most popular kinds of red meat are beef, lamb, and pork. The most popular type of white meat is poultry, with chicken coming out on top of the list of favorite meats. The red meat and white meat categories also include types of meat such as goat, duck, venison, and rabbit.

As part of a balanced diet, many types of meat are good for your health. The nutritional value of meat shows that white and red meat are good sources of protein, vitamins, and nutrients.

Advertisement

There are also some concerns about the impact of eating too much red meat or processed meat in your diet. However, it is also good to remember that the cut of meat and preparation method can greatly impact on how healthy cooked meat is for you.

In this article, you will learn about the most common types of meat you can buy. You will also find out about the healthiest kind of meat and if you should be concerned about consuming meat.

Although fish is classed as a type of meat, some people consider it a separate category. Whatever the classification is, the benefits of eating seafood are not addressed in this article.

What is Meat?

In short, meat is defined as the edible parts of an animal that is used for human consumption. Meat can include the flesh, fat, muscles, and offal of an animal. The offal is the parts of the animal such as the liver, kidney, and tongue that are often consumed or used as part of a recipe. (1)

Processed meat is a type of meat that most health experts recommend limiting in your diet. Types of meat that have been processed include sausages, salami, canned meats, and bacon.

Red Meat vs. White Meat

The two main categories of meat are white meat and red meat. What is the difference between the two?

In general, types of meat in the “red meat” category are red before and sometimes after cooking. The reason meats such as beef, lamb, and venison are red is because they are high in a protein called myoglobin. This is an iron-rich protein that gives certain types of meat their red color. (2)

Pork meat is also classified as red meat because it contains higher levels of myoglobin than white meat such as chicken. Pork is lighter in color than beef and becomes very light when cooked but it is still red meat.

Types of white meat, such as some types of poultry, contain less myoglobin and therefore are white in color. However, because myoglobin occurs in muscles, darker meat from chicken and turkeys is found in their legs and thighs.

#1 Type of Meat: White Meat

Let’s look at the different types of meat that fall into the “white meat” category, starting with one of the most popular types of meat – chicken.

Chicken

Type of meat: Chicken

Type of meat: Chicken

Chicken is the most common bird or type of poultry that is consumed. The reason why chicken is so popular is due to its versatility and low-fat content. In fact, some say that chicken is one of the most popular types of white meat in the world.

To prepare chicken for consumption, you can grill it, bake it, steam it, roast it, or fry it. Of course, deep fried chicken contains a lot of calories due to the increased fat content.

Advertisement

Chicken breast is considered to be one of the healthiest meat choices you can buy. For example, a 3-oz. (85 g) serving of chicken breast contains 170 calories and just 7 g of fat. This serving size also contains 25 g of protein and some iron. (3)

Other cuts of chicken meat contain more calories. For instance, a 3-oz. serving of the drumstick contains 180 calories, the thigh has 210 calories, and the wing 240 calories.

Benefits of chicken

The benefits of consuming chicken are that it is a cheaper type of meat and contains less fat than beef. Chicken is also a good source of protein with almost the same amount of protein as beef. (4, 5)

Did you know that there is some scientific evidence suggesting that chicken soup can actually help you fight infections easier?

Concerns about chicken

One of the main concerns about chicken is the possibility of contamination with bacterial pathogens. Poultry meat can contain Salmonella and E.coli which can result in gastroenteritis. (6)

This is one reason to ensure strict hygiene when preparing chicken for consumption. To minimize the risk of any infection, make sure that chicken is thoroughly cooked, and wash hands and surfaces after handling chicken meat.

It seems that the welfare of chickens is also important for consumers. One study found that people rated chicken welfare above cost when determining which type of chicken to buy. (7)

Turkey

Type of meat: Turkey

Type of meat: Turkey

Turkey is a large poultry bird that is in the same white meat category as chicken. Meat from turkey is a slightly darker meat than chicken but contains fewer calories.

When it comes to popular types of white meat, turkey isn’t as popular as chicken. Turkey meat, especially the breast, is drier than chicken; however, both of these poultry birds are excellent sources of lean protein.

A 3-oz. (85 g) serving of turkey breast contains 160 calories with the thigh, drumstick, and wing having slightly more. Similar to chicken, turkey is an excellent source of healthy protein and has good amounts of B-group vitamins. (3, 4)

Of course, when it comes to comparing turkey and chicken, turkey comes out top in terms of size. An average turkey bird weighs about 8 lb. (3.6 kg) whereas a standard broiler may only be 6 lb. (2.7 kg) or less.

Benefits of turkey

Many of the benefits of eating turkey meat are similar to those of chicken. Turkey breast, drumstick, and wings are an excellent source of lean protein. Turkey is relatively cheap also, so it is a nutrient-dense food that doesn’t cost very much.

Concerns about turkey

Being a type of poultry meat, turkey is also prone to harboring infectious pathogens. E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria infections have been linked to contaminated turkey meat.

So, as with chicken, adhere to strict hygiene practices when preparing and cooking turkey.

Duck

Type of meat: Duck

Type of meat: Duck

Another bird in the white meat category is duck. Even though duck meat is somewhat darker than chicken or turkey, it is still listed as white meat.

Advertisement

Duck meat is used extensively in Chinese cuisine with Peking duck being a popular dish. Other ways of eating duck include roasting the breast with the skin, or using duck offal meat to make duck pate.

As with other types of poultry, duck meat is a good source of protein as well as many other nutrients. A 100 g serving of duck breast with the skin removed contains 4.5 mg of iron, 13.9 mg of selenium, and 186 mg of phosphorus. These nutritional values are between 20% and 25% of your recommended daily intake (RDI). (5)

Benefits of duck

Duck is a good healthy meat to consume as it is a nutrient-dense type of meat. Cooked duck is also a good source of antioxidants. In fact, one study found that roasted duck meat contains more antioxidants than the uncooked meat. (6)

Concerns about duck

There are very few concerns about duck when you prepare the bird at home for cooking. However, if cooking duck at home, be sure to remove the skin before eating to lower the saturated fat content of this succulent bird.

If you enjoy Peking duck (also called “Long Island duck”), then watch out for added ingredients that are not good for you. For instance, Peking duck may contain high levels of sodium, fat, and monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Goose

Type of meat: Goose

Type of meat: Goose

Another type of white meat is goose; however, this is not one of the most popular types of poultry and it may be difficult to find.

As with most types of poultry, goose meat is rich in protein and low in fat when the skin is removed. Cooked goose is also a good source of vitamin B6, niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin B12. Goose also contains plenty of iron, potassium, zinc, copper, and selenium. (7)

As with duck meat, remove the skin before eating to lower the saturated fat content of this bird.

#2 Type of Meat: Red Meat

Different types of red meat remain some of the most popular kinds of meat on the planet. Red meat usually contains more saturated fat than white meat and, therefore, more calories.

A common type of red meat is processed meat. However, many health experts are concerned that consumption of types of processed meat is linked with an increased risk of cancer.

Let’s look in more detail at the many examples of red meat that aren’t processed.

Beef

Type of meat: Beef

Type of meat: Beef

Beef is the most commonly consumed type of red meat.

Different cuts of beef are used for various types of steak, ground beef is made into hamburgers, and chunks of beef are good in stews. In fact, some types of beef steak such as tenderloin rank in the list of the most tender cuts of meat.

Advertisement

Veal is also a type of red meat but it is the meat of calves in contrast to the beef from older cattle.

Red meat is actually good for you when consumed in moderation. For example, beef is one of the best sources of iron, vitamin B12, and zinc. (8)

If you are choosing the healthiest type of beef to buy, some studies seem to suggest that grass-fed beef is the best type. 100 g of ground grass-fed beef contains 19 g of protein and 12 g of fat, of which, only 5 g are saturated fat. This type of beef is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and linoleic acid. (9, 10)

Benefits of red meat

Although most health experts warn about excessive consumption of red meat, does this type of meat have any benefits?

As already mentioned, beef is a rich source of protein and nutrients. In fact, it is one of the best dietary sources of iron available.

Doctors from the National Health Service say that beef can be part of a healthy diet. However, it’s important to choose lean cuts of beef and watch portion size. (11)

Concerns about red meat

Although fatty red meat has cholesterol, there is no evidence that consuming moderate portions of lean meat increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies seem to indicate that the dangers lurk in processed meat. (12)

Another concern about cooking red meat is the cooking methods. Searing beef at high temperatures could cause a number of carcinogenic toxins to form, thus increasing the risk of certain cancers. (24)

Learn more about how to cook beef to reduce the number of toxins in red meat when it’s cooking.

Pork

Type of meat: Pork

Type of meat: Pork

Pork is actually classified as red meat due to levels of myoglobin in the meat. This is even though fresh pork is lighter in color than beef and becomes very light when cooked.

Due to its cheap cost and high protein content, pork is one of the most popular kinds of meat in the world. As with most cuts of meat, the exact nutritional content of pork varies, depending on the type of cut.

For example, a 3-oz. (85 g) serving of roasted pork tenderloin may contain as little as 3.5 g of fat. The same sized serving of a cooked pork chop contains 11 g of fat and spareribs have 21 g of fat. As with all types of red meat, pork is a good source of protein and iron. (13)

Benefits of pork

One of the benefits of pork is that it is a cheap cut of meat that has a nutritionally-dense profile.

Pork is also rich in important vitamins and minerals that you need for good health. For instance, a 100 g serving of pork loin contains high levels of thiamine, niacin, and vitamin B6. These are important nutrients for good energy metabolism and cardiovascular health. (14, 15)

In fact, one study found that substituting lean pork for beef and chicken resulted in a reduction of body weight. So, studies seem to show that, in moderation, lean pork is no worse than beef or chicken. (16)

Concerns about pork

As some types of pork cuts contains a lot of fat, eating too much of them could lead to high cholesterol and heart disease. Pork is also high in omega-6 fatty acids and this could result in an imbalance with omega-3.

Advertisement

Pork meat is also prone to contamination with parasites and bacterial pathogens. So, it’s important to make sure that cuts of pork are thoroughly cooked before eating. (17, 18)

Lamb and Mutton Meat

Type of meat: Lamb

Type of meat: Lamb

Many regard a lean cut of lamb meat as one of the healthiest types of red meat that you can eat. Lamb meat is an important source of all essential amino acids and high-quality protein.

Mutton is similar to lamb meat but the only difference is that mutton is the meat of an adult sheep.

One of the reasons why lamb is a healthy meat choice is that lambs are usually reared naturally. Sheep fatten up by eating grass and they are generally fed a natural, healthy diet.

A 3-oz. (85 g) serving of cooked lamb contains 20 g of protein which is 42% of your RDI. In this lamb portion, there are just 8.6 g of fat – half of which are unsaturated types of fat. Lamb is also a good source of vitamin B12, niacin, and riboflavin. (17)

It’s important to remember that the fat content of lamb varies greatly between cuts. To choose the healthiest cut of lamb, pick leaner cuts from the loin and leg. Cuts of lamb meat from the ribs or shoulder can have significantly more calories than lean cuts with the fat trimmed.

Benefits of lamb

Many of the benefits of lamb come from the fact that they are generally grass-fed in pastures. For many consumers, this is a more ethical way to raise animals for meat rather than large intensive farming techniques.

As with all kinds of red meat, lamb in an important source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

Concerns about lamb

One of the downsides about eating more lamb in your diet is the cost. Lamb tends to be more expensive than pork, beef, or chicken. Also watch out of the amounts of fat and eat lean cuts in moderation, making sure not to sear them at high temperatures to prevent the formation of carcinogenic toxins.

Goat Meat

Type of meat

Type of meat: Goat

Goat meat is an example of one of the healthiest types of red meat that you can buy as it contains less fat than beef.

Although rarely eaten in the US and Northern Europe, goat meat is one of the most popular meats in Mediterranean, African, and Middle Eastern countries. Goat meat is served in stews, roasted, grilled, and in curries.

Due to the fact it has fewer calories than pork and beef but the same amount of protein, goat meat is considered a healthy choice of meat.

The nutritional value of goat meat shows how good this meat is. A 3-oz. (85 g) serving of goat meat contains just 122 calories and 2.5 g of fat. But you still get 23 g of protein in this medium-sized portion. Goat meat also has more iron compared to beef, chicken, and pork. (18)

Benefits of goat’s meat

The main benefit of eating goat’s meat instead of pork or beef is that it is much healthier for you. There are less cholesterol and fat in the meat and it has a better nutritional profile than most other meats.

Because we are getting advice on cutting back on unhealthy types of red meat, maybe we should be substituting beef for healthier cuts such as goat.

Venison

Type of meat

Type of meat: Venison

Venison is a type of meat from deer that is very healthy for you because it’s classified as a lean red meat.

Although venison ranks high in the list of healthiest types of red meat, its high cost can put many people off eating it. Deer meat is also full of flavor despite the fact it has very little fat in it.

Comparing its nutritional value, it is easy to see why venison is a healthy red meat choice. A 3-oz. (85 g) serving of venison contains 25 g of protein but only 127 calories and just 2 g of fat. Less than ½ of the fat content is saturated fat. Venison is rich in all the B-group vitamins and contains plenty of essential minerals. (19)

Benefits of venison

The main reasons to eat venison, if you can afford it, have already been mentioned. From all the kinds of red meat, venison is one of the healthiest. Substituting other types of red meat for venison is a good choice in our health-conscious age.

Concerns about venison

The main reason why people don’t eat a lot of venison is due to its high cost.

Rabbit Meat

Type of meat

Type of meat: Rabbit

Rabbit is a type of lean red meat that is rich in protein and nutrients.

Despite the fact that rabbit is a healthy choice of meat, it is rarely consumed in many countries. Rabbit is classified as a game meat although rabbits are also reared domestically for their meat. Meat from rabbit makes a tasty stew that is low in calories.

The nutritional profile of rabbit reveals that it is better for you than beef or pork. A 3-oz. (85 g) serving of stewed rabbit meat contains just 147 calories and under 3 g of fat. However, you get 28 g of protein along with good amounts of vitamins and minerals. (20)

Benefits of rabbit

Rabbit meat is one of the best sources of vitamin B12 you can get. A small portion (85 g) contains nearly all of your vitamin B12 daily requirements. The meat is also rich in iron (23% RDI), phosphorus (20% RDI), zinc (13% RDI), and selenium (18% RDI). These are many of the vitamins you need for a healthy immune system and healthy blood cells. (21, 22)

Concerns about rabbit

Rabbits caught in the wild can carry a disease called tularemia. This disease can be passed on to humans who eat undercooked rabbit meat. (23)

Related article:

Pin on PinterestShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone


Advertisement


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *