There seem to be some controversy on the anti-inflammatory effect of meat on the human body so I decided to give a look to the subject.
No dough, inflammation is enemy number one of mankind, causing common diseases such as arthritis or fibromyalgia, but it is also responsible for serious stuff like arteriosclerosis, Alzheimer disease and initiation of cancer.
Strangely, there is not that much studies out there on the subject. Probably because treating the “main root” of many diseases would not be profitable for pharmaceuticals and all related health care businesses.
Our modern society is far away from doing “preventive medicine” as “curing medicine” keeps the economy going. Sadly, if one looks to do some of this “preventive stuff”, he can easily get lost in available information and can go on doing “wrong choices” thinking they are good, the best example being the “whole grain versus refined grain” propaganda.
Did you know the average “commercial WHITE bread” contains about 50 g carbs per portion, while “commercial WHOLE GRAIN bread” may contain 55 g carbs? Of course, publicity insists on the extra 2 g fiber you get with the WHOLE BREAD, while omitting you are getting an extra 3 g of “rapid carb” at the same time…
Back to inflammation and meat.
The usual way to evaluate the effect of a food item on inflammation levels in the body is to look at blood markers. The 2 most common one are the C-REACTIVE PROTEIN (CRP), a test routinely done while evaluating the risk for heart disease, and the ERYTHROCYTE SEDIMENTATION TEST (ESR), a very old but reliable and inexpensive blood test.
So what are the studies teaching us?
One interesting research substituted RED MEAT for carbohydrate, and it was observe meat do NOT create increase in these markers. So far, so good.
Another study, with the same substitution, showed inflammation markers could even go DOWN with increased red meat intake. Even better.
But the most interesting discovery concluded a diet high in red meat is not different “inflammation wise” from a diet rich in fish oil. Not a good publicity for oily fishes.
Still, a controversy remains and a molecule called NEU5GC, founded in mammalian meat, is at the center of the debate. This monosaccharide helps our immune system distinguish between our own cells and the cells of the animal meat we are ingesting. This allows our body to decide what “cells” to begin digesting so we don’t consume our own tissues. Some searchers are hypothesizing we are producing antibodies to this compound and this creates inflammation.
But at this time, it is pure speculation as NO studies are backing up the theory. Of course, fear is one sad human weakness and when exploited, it can lead to disastrous consequences…
Anyway, humans have always eaten meat and cultures thriving on “all meat diets”, devoid of heart problems and cancer, certainly wouldn’t have had elevated body inflammation. This is corroborated by anthropological studies but, sadly, they are described by many as the “Inuit Paradox” or the “Maasai Paradox”…
When will we learn when a paradox repeats itself with the same pattern, it becomes “the road towards the discover of a principle”?
Another “big guy” responsible for body inflammation is ARACHIDONIC ACID. Don’t be afraid of the name: it is just one of the essential omega-6 fatty acids our body needs as we cannot produce them along with omega-3 fatty acids.
As it is found primarily in eggs and meat, these foods are considered by many as the “guilty ones” and it is suggested we avoid them at all cost because of their content of ARACHIDONIC ACID. Which is not logical as some quantity of this is essential fatty acid is needed on a daily basis…
We must also consider we need SOME inflammatory response to answer any attack our body has to deal with such as bacteria or virus, chemicals, radiations ect. So, yes, we need some balance in ingestion here and, LUCKELY, meat provides us the correct amount of ARACHIDONIC ACID to answer our needs along with other essential fatty acids WITHOUT CREATING an excessive inflammation reaction.
But add other big sources of essential fatty acids omega-6, like vegetable oils, and the delicate balance of omega3-omaga6 nature has created for us with meat gets scrapped away.
Anyway, RED MEAT has a low content of ARACNIDOIC ACID because of its overall small content of omega-6 (especially when compared to chicken).
Interestingly, in the data base of NUTRITIONDATA, you can notice beef has one of the STRONGEST anti-inflammatory effect of all foods, while bread and pasta are all inflammatory.
So how can we resume the qualities of eating meat on a Zero Carb diet?
Meat is a source of COMPLETE PROTEIN which means it contains adequate proportion of all the NINE essential amino acids of our dietary needs, it offers important quantities of liposoluble antioxidant vitamins such as A, E and K, along with an excellent array of the B vitamins group, including EXCLUSIVE B12 only find in animal products, a lot of precious minerals such as ZINC, SELENIUM and IRON and, finally, it is plentiful of antioxidant molecules such as CARNITINE and CARNOSINE.