and/or preventing iron deficiency. Without meat in the diet, it is
hard for an adult woman to meet her iron requirement
without supplements. One cooked 3.5-ounce hamburger provides about 2.9
mg iron, 16 percent of the RDA for an adult woman of childbearing age.
anticarcinogenic activity. Beef is rich in a polyunsaturated fat
called CLA (short for conjugated dienole linoleic acid). In 1993 and
1996, research at Purdue University showed that CLA slows or reverses
skin, breast, and stomach cancers in laboratory rats and mice at all
three stages of tumor development: when a cell is first damaged, when
precancerous cells multiply to form tumors, and when tumors begin to
enlarge and spread.
anti-diabetes activity. CLA may also prevent Type II diabetes, also
called adult-onset diabetes, a non-insulin-dependent form of the
disease. At Purdue University, rats bred to develop diabetes
spontaneously between 8 and 10 weeks of age stayed healthy when given
Adverse Effects Associated with This Food
Increased risk of heart disease. Like other foods from animals, beef
contains cholesterol and saturated fats that increase the amount of
cholesterol circulating in your blood, raising your risk of heart
disease. To reduce the risk of heart disease, the USDA/Health and
Human Services Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting
the amount of cholesterol in your diet to no more than 300 mg a day.
The guidelines also recommend limiting the amount of fat you consume
to no more than 30 percent of your total calories, while holding your
consumption of saturated fats to more than than 10 percent of your
total calories (the calories from saturated fats are counted as part
of the total calories from Eat).
Increased risk of some cancers. A diet high in beef fat has been
linked to an increased risk of cancer of the colon and rectum.
Food-borne illness. Improperly cooked meat contaminated with E. coli
O157:H7 has been linked to a number of fatalities in several parts of
the United States. In addition, meats contaminated with other
bacteria, viruses, or parasites pose special problems for people with
a weakened immune system: the very young, the very old, cancer
chemotherapy patients, and people with HIV. Cooking meat to an
internal temperature of 140°F should destroy Salmonella and
Campylobacter jejuni; 165°F, the E. coli organism; and 212°F, Listeria
Antibiotic sensitivity. Cattle in the United States are routinely
given antibiotics to protect them from infection. By law, the
antibiotic treatment must stop three days to several weeks before the
animal is slaughtered. Theoretically, the beef should then be free of
antibiotic residues, but some people who are sensitive to penicillin
or tetracycline may have an allergic reaction to the meat, although
this is rare.
Antibiotic-resistant Salmonella and toxoplasmosis. Cattle treated with
antibiotics may produce meat contaminated with antibiotic-resistant
strains of Salmonella, and all raw beef may harbor ordinary Salmonella
as well as T. gondii, the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis.
Toxoplasmosis is particularly hazardous for pregnant women. It can be
passed on to the fetus and may trigger a series of birth defects
including blindness and mental retardation. Both Salmonella and the T.
gondii can be eliminated by cooking meat thoroughly and washing all
utensils, cutting boards, and counters as well as your hands with hot
soapy water before touching any other food.
in kidney function. Proteins are nitrogen compounds. When metabolized,
they yield ammonia, which is excreted through the kidneys. In
laboratory animals, a sustained high-protein diet increases the flow
of blood through the kidneys, accelerating the natural age-related
decline in kidney function. Some experts suggest that this may also
occur in human beings.
Tetracycline antibiotics (demeclocycline [Declomycin], doxycycline [Vibtamycin],
methacycline [Rondomycin], minocycline [Minocin], oxytetracycline [Terramycin],
tetracycline [Achromycin V, Panymycin, Sumycin]). Because meat
contains iron, which binds tetracyclines into compounds the body
cannot absorb, it is best to avoid meat for two hours before and after
taking one of these antibiotics.
Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors. Meat "tenderized" with papaya or a
papain powder can interact with the class of antidepressant drugs
known as monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors. Papain meat tenderizers
work by breaking up the long chains of protein molecules. One
by-product of this process is tyramine, a substance that constructs
blood vessels and raises blood pressure. MAO inhibitors inactivate
naturally occurring enzymes in your body that metabolize tyramine. If
you eat a food such as papain-tenderized meat, which is high in
tyramine, while you are taking a MAO inhibitor, you cannot effectively
eliminate the tyramine from your body. The result may be a
Theophylline. Charcoal-broiled beef appears to reduce the
effectiveness of theophylline because the aromatic chemicals produced
by burning fat speed up the metabolism of theophylline in the liver.