Tag Archives: red meat

Red Meat, Insulin Sensitivity, and Sage Infused Mushroom Paleo Burgers | The Paleo Diet

Does red meat consumption increase your risk for developing type-2 diabetes? Some epidemiologic studies have suggested this much, while also linking increased dairy consumption with decreased type-2 diabetes risk.1 Insulin sensitivity is the proposed mechanism driving these associations.

People with low insulin sensitivity, also known as being insulin resistant, require greater amounts of insulin from the pancreas to stabilize blood glucose levels. Over time, insulin resistance promotes type-2 diabetes as the pancreas fails to satisfy the body’s insulin requirements. This causes excess glucose to build up in the bloodstream, thereby promoting type-2 diabetes.

Previously published epidemiological studies have led to the hypothesis that increased red meat consumption promotes lower insulin sensitivity, whereas increased dairy consumption promotes higher insulin sensitivity. This hypothesis, however, has not been tested via randomized controlled trials, until now.

For a study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers tested three different diets on 47 overweight or obese men and women.2 The diets included a) a diet high in red meat with minimal dairy, b) a diet high in dairy with no red meat, and c) a diet with no red meat, nor any dairy. Each participant followed each diet for a period of four weeks.

Until now, few intervention studies have evaluated red meat and dairy for their effects on insulin sensitivity in the absence of weight loss. The researchers, therefore, designed this study to maintain weight stability so as to isolate the effects of red meat and dairy on insulin sensitivity. Their primary hypothesis was that the red meat diet would produce greater insulin resistance (lower insulin sensitivity) compared to the high-dairy diet.

To their surprise, the opposite happened. Fasting insulin was significantly higher after the high-dairy diet compared to the red meat diet. There was no change in fasting glucose, which means the high-dairy diet promoted greater insulin resistance (lower insulin sensitivity) than the red meat diet.

These findings run contrary to the hypothesis that red meat consumption increases your risk for type-2 diabetes. Red meat, as those who follow the Paleo lifestyle know, is an invaluable source of high-quality protein and fat, as well as various vitamins and minerals. Continue eating it and should you be short on inspiration, our Sage Infused Mushroom Burgers are an excellent place to start!

SAGE INFUSED MUSHROOM BURGERS

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • ¼ lb mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped finely
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • Freshly milled black pepper

DIRECTIONS

sage-mushroom-burger5
1. Wash the mushrooms and chop them into quarters. 2. Place them on a baking sheet and roast at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they reduce by half.
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Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.
@nutrigrail
Nutritional Grail
www.ChristopherJamesClark.com

Christopher James Clark | The Paleo Diet TeamChristopher James Clark, B.B.A. is an award-winning writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book, Nutritional Grail.

 

REFERENCES

[1] Turner, KM, et al. (Mar 2015). Red meat, dairy, and insulin sensitivity: a randomized crossover intervention study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 101(3). Retrieved from //ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2015/03/25/ajcn.114.104976.abstract

[2] Ibid. Turner

Red Meat and The Paleo Diet

Who doesn’t like a nice, rare filet mignon for dinner?  Or some flank steak, marinated in cumin, orange, lime and garlic, sautéed with peppers and onions and served with Bibb Lettuce warps and guacamole to create Paleo Fajitas?

It’s too bad we can’t eat this type of food that often. Or can we? We’ve all heard “Don’t eat red meat more than once per week” and “Always choose the leanest cuts of meat” from not only our doctors, but also from the media.

Unfortunately, the misconception that eating red meat, in and of itself, can cause certain types of cancers, high cholesterol and weight gain in the case of choosing fattier cuts, often serves as a deterrent for eating what is, in actuality, an outstanding source of protein, iron, zinc, B vitamins and fatty acids.

While we’d certainly want to avoid feed-lot, corn-fed beef, if we also ‘steer’ clear (pardon the pun) of 100% grass-fed beef, we’re actually doing ourselves a huge disservice.

To group the two together and present the nutritional value as one in the same would be akin to categorizing all proteins under one heading, where anything from hot dogs to wild salmon are suggested to be basically the same.

Not only does grass-fed beef come from a far more humane source, it’s also much higher in omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid (a potent source of antioxidants), Vitamin E and beta-carotene than grain-fed beef.

So how often can we eat it?  Isn’t more than once per week too much?

Eating it in balance, with a variety of other wild proteins, is the key.

Just as we wouldn’t want to eat only pastured chicken breast and wild salmon along with only broccoli and spinach, if we focus on incorporating some grass-fed meat, some wild fish, some pastured chicken, some eggs from pastured hens and some game meats, if accessible, we’ll reach a nicely balanced range of proteins, to accompany an equally varied array of fresh, local, in season veggies.

Now, what about choosing between a rib eye and a filet? Surely, the rib eye is a no-go, isn’t it? Not necessarily.

There’s room on a Paleo Diet for a fattier cut now and then, too.

So long as we stick with grass-fed, adding the more decadent cuts once in a while can often be what keeps us more likely to stay true to our Paleo lifestyle.

The satiating effect of the higher fat content, not to mention the flavor, can be the pièce de résistance of a special occasion meal, providing that beautiful balance so inherent to this healthy approach to eating and living.

Here is a great recipe to try; it’s my Paleoista version of Argentinean Flank Steak with Chimichurri.

Salud!

INGREDIENTS

Serves 2-3

  • 2 lbs grass fed flank steak
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, smashed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 small lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tbsp dried basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Dried crushed red pepper, optional, to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

DIRECTIONS

1. Using a meat tenderizer tool, pound both sides of steak.

2. Place smashed garlic onto flesh of one side and pound into meat with tenderizer tool.

3. Rub thoroughly with olive oil and squeeze lime on top.

4. Combine all dry spices and press into meat.

5. Place in glass or ceramic dish and cover tightly; let marinate in refrigerator at least four hours.

6. Combine four remaining ingredients in mini prep food processor and whiz to combine. Tightly cover and refrigerate.

7. Preheat oven to broil (or light up the barbeque) and cook for roughly three minutes per side for rare, or longer for more done.

8. Remove from heat and let rest while you steam your favorite veggies.

9. Serve together with parsley combination on top.

Carnitine Levels | The Paleo Diet

Hi Loren,

Here I go again with the question of the week. I love my job!

What do you think about carnitine found in high levels in red meat ( and in other products- other meats,  sports drinks, etc) and its potential association with the formation of coronary plaque?

I appreciate your response to my questions.  Feel free to answer when you have time.  No rush.

Thanks for your time and expertise.

— Pam

Dr. Cordain’s Response:

Hi Pam,

Good to hear from you. General practitioners such as yourself are responsible to your patients for giving them proper dietary advice, particularly whether or not they should avoid red meat to protect against heart disease.  The most recent commotion about red meat, carnitine and formation of coronary plaque (atherosclerosis) comes from the paper1 listed below from Stanley Hazen’s group at the Cleveland Clinic.

My colleague, Chris Masterjohn, has done a superb job of critiquing this paper and it’s scientific shortcomings in “Does Carnitine From Red Meat Contribute to Heart Disease Through Intestinal Bacterial Metabolism to TMAO?

I am in complete agreement with Chris’s conclusion that, “The bottom line here is that the popular interpretation of this study as an indictment of red meat makes no sense.” I have a few additional comments that corroborate Chris’s conclusion.

Although intriguing, Hazen’s model doesn’t fit well with the bigger picture of atherosclerosis etiology, particularly the two large meta analyses by Key’s group2, 3 showing cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality in vegans and vegetarians to be no better than the general population.  Vegans/vegetarian data from India actually show high mortality from CVD and an earlier disease progression/mortality.4

Another point worth considering are the well studied polymorphisms disrupting FMO3 activity in trimethylaminuria patients causing inefficient conversion of TMA to TMAO.  Hence in these patients tissue concentrations of TMAO are severely reduced.  Given this metabolic scenario, one would expect that any of the polymorphisms disrupting the FMO3 gene would be highly protective for CVD (if the Hazen hypothesis is correct).  No CVD epidemiologic evidence supports this evidence.  In fact, a recent study5 shows that heterozygote genotypes (158Glu/Lys and 308Glu/Gly) increase the risk of stroke six times in hypertensives.

Cordially,

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

References

1. Koeth RA, Wang Z, Levison BS, Buffa JA, Org E, Sheehy BT, Britt EB, Fu X, Wu Y, Li L, Smith JD, Didonato JA, Chen J, Li H, Wu GD, Lewis JD, Warrier M, Brown JM, Krauss RM, Tang WH, Bushman FD, Lusis AJ, Hazen SL. Intestinal microbiota metabolism of l-carnitine, a nutrient in red meat, promotes atherosclerosis. Nat Med. 2013 May;19(5):576-85

2. Key TJ, Fraser GE, Thorogood M, Appleby PN, Beral V, Reeves G, Burr ML, Chang-Claude J, Frentzel-Beyme R, Kuzma JW, Mann J, McPherson K. Mortality in vegetarians and nonvegetarians: detailed findings from a collaborative analysis of 5 prospective studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Sep;70(3 Suppl):516S-524S.

3. Key TJ, Appleby PN, Spencer EA, Travis RC, Roddam AW, Allen NE. Mortality in British vegetarians: results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Oxford).  Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 May;89(5):1613S-1619S

4. Kumar J, Garg G, Sundaramoorthy E, Prasad PV, Karthikeyan G, Ramakrishnan L, Ghosh S, Sengupta S. Vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with coronary artery disease in an Indian population. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2009;47(3):334-8.

5. Türkanoğlu Özçelik A, Can Demirdöğen B, Demirkaya S, Adalı O. Flavin containing monooxygenase 3 genetic polymorphisms Glu158Lys and Glu308Gly and their relation to ischemic stroke. Gene. 2013 Mar 17. pii: S0378-1119(13)00244-8. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2013.03.010. [Epub ahead of print]

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