Eid al Adha is round the corner and it brings to families a wonderful and happy occasion to celebrate. But beware, many wrong eating habits also come with it, especially with regard to eating red meat meals excessively during the days of Eid.
We are aware that meat is made up of protein in every living cell in our body and is essential for building and maintaining bones, muscles and skin. Although a person can get protein from a variety of sources including dairy products, nuts, cereals and beans, the protein in meat is the most complete for human nutrition.
However, there is a fine line between healthy consumption and excessive protein consumption, especially when it comes from meat! People can usually take two grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily, in the long run, without any significant side effects. On other hand, some people, such as elite athletes, may be able to eat up to 3.5 grams per kilogram of body weight daily without any side effects.
So, when you are choosing high-protein foods, make sure that you go for healthier options. This can help lower your risk of negative effects of a high-protein diet. Such Healthy sources of protein, as we all know, are fish, eggs, organic dairy, nuts and whole grains.
Most of the studies suggest that consuming more than 2 grams per kilogram of body weight per day of protein for too long can cause health problems. Definitely, there are lots of good things in red meat. Beef, whole or minced, is a great source of protein and essential nutrients like iron and vitamin B12, which are vital for health. On the downside, however red and processed meat tends to be high in saturated fat.
Based on various studies and statistics, I can say that an increased mortality risk of 20 per cent means your risk of dying over the next year is 20 per cent higher if you did not eat the processed meat.
Also, researchers suggest that saturated fat from red meat may be behind the increased heart attack risk and the sodium used in processed meats may increase cardiovascular disease risk through its effect on blood pressure! I am not ignoring the related health issues like obesity and increased risk of diabetes and cancer, as evidence has shown that there is probably a link between eating lots of red and processed meat and the risk of bowel cancer.
Did you ever wonder whether too much protein might be a problem though it is essential for our health as well?
As with most things in life, there can be too much of a good thing, and if you eat too much protein, there may be a price to pay. Among the conditions linked to high protein diets are high cholesterol, gout, kidney disease, especially in existing kidney disease. However, some of these are not necessarily due to the protein itself but rather due to how the protein is consumed or what the protein replaces. For example, a high protein diet that contains lots of red meat and high fat dairy products might lead to higher cholesterol, and a higher risk of heart disease and colon cancer while another high protein diet rich in plant-based proteins may not carry similar risks.
Sadly, we do observe the use of grilled meat continuously for four days of the feast, and this works to break down the existing proteins, and the formation of nitrogen compounds are a burden on the kidneys to get rid of them, which leads to stressed kidneys.
For having the joy of family meal meat without health damage, we must remove all visible fat from the meat before cooking. If done accurately, the meat will be free of about 60 per cent of the total fat and about half of saturated fat and low content of cholesterol, which are the three factors that damage health. Eid Mubarak!
Dr Yousuf Ali al Mulla, MD, Ministry of Health, is a medical innovator and educator. For any queries regarding the content of the column he can be contacted at: email@example.com