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Evidence Based Research
Guidelines for Meat Consumption
In the same statement the Heart Foundation made that full cream milk, yoghurt and cheese was now OK, they also made a statement on red meat and egg consumption which did not make as big of a headline. So we are going to spread the word!
Heart foundation Chief Medical Advisor (and cardiologist) Professor Garry Jennings advised, “We have introduced a limit of less than 350 grams a week for unprocessed beef, lamb, pork and veal. That’s around one to three lean red-meat meals a week, like a Sunday roast and a beef stir-fry.” He also recommended that processed and deli meats should be limited as they have been consistently linked to higher risk of heart disease and chronic conditions.
The majority of our protein should still be from plant sources such as beans, legumes, lentils and tofu, as well as fish and seafood, with smaller amounts from eggs and lean poultry. The message remains that heart-healthy eating is all about variety of protein sources. Although the limit of eggs has been lifted, for those who suffer from Type 2 diabetes it is still recommended to eat fewer than 7 eggs per week.
So what do we recommend in the protein department?
- Aim for healthy proteins such as fresh fish and seafood, plant-based proteins (legumes, lentils, tofu etc) with smaller amounts of animal-based proteins. Limit processed meat.
Does skim milk contain more sugar?
One of the most common reasons dietitians find people ditch skim milk for full cream milk is that they have heard that skim milk contains more sugar. While it’s true, the extra sugar is minimal. I’ll explain….
When you remove the fat, it means that the other components of the milk will be higher in content. There will be slightly more carbohydrate, protein, sugar and calcium. It is also important to remember the ‘sugar’ in milk is not ‘added’ sugar. It is a natural, low glycaemic index sugar, called lactose. Sugar is not added to plain skim milk. Below is a comparison of Dairy Farmers full cream milk and skim milk products per 100ml.
|Component per 100mL
|Fat -total , g
|Fat – Saturated, g
As you can see, there is 4.8g of sugar in 100ml of full cream milk compared to 4.9g in 100ml of skim. Hardly worth the worry! However, there are more calories in full cream milk due tot the fat: 1 cup has 665kJ compared to 368kJ in skim milk. Although some fat assists the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients such as A, D, E and K and can make us feel more satisfied, drinking large amounts of full cream milk may add to your waist line.
The consensus? If you are happy with your weight and your cholesterol is fine, full cream milk is no problem. If your cholesterol is high or you are trying to lose weight, it might be worth the swap to reduced fat products. All milk is rich in nutrients such as calcium, protein, potassium, riboflavin, B12, vitamin D and A to name a few! Choose the milk that suits your goals, preferences and overall food pattern.
The Heart Foundation removes restrictions.
The Heart Foundation has removed their restriction for healthy Australians on consuming full cream milk, cheese and yoghurt. But before you say, “I knew it!”, the decision was made by evaluating many studies and decades of data. While evidence is mixed, these type of dairy products were found to have a neutral effect on heart disease and stroke, meaning they did not seem to play a role in increasing or decreasing your risks. Before you get too excited (I know I did!), this does not apply for higher fat and sugar types of dairy such as butter, cream, ice-cream or other dairy-based desserts. Those guys are still recommended to be consumed in limited amounts.
It is still important to note that while the Heart Foundation have removed these restrictions, this does not automatically make skim milk bad. Different types of milks play a healthy role in the diet in different ways. If you consume full cream milk, yoghurt and cheese, had a diet full of fresh fruit, vegetables, lean meats, grains, legumes, fish and good fats and cholesterol was spot on, then obviously there is no need to worry about reduced-fat products.