Why British TV chefs prefer under cooked red meat, are they healthy?
Posted on October 3rd, 2016

Dr Hector Perera     London

There are plenty of cookery shows in British TV showing cooking so many different varieties of nutritious dishes but sometimes the chefs finish red meats virtually uncooked. They sometimes touch the piece or the lump of meat with finger tips while cooking and to me this is not quite acceptable way to cook. They do not let the piece of meat to cook long enough, sometimes toss it around in the air a few times then say it’s cooked” but when cut to eat, it shows the red in the centre that means uncooked meat.

Under cooked or medium cooked red beef

When green vegetables, fish or meat are properly cooked it changes colour, the appearance and the texture. If for example a lump of beef is cooked, it loses the red colour, any fish the same but to my surprise in some British TV cooking demonstrations, I have witnessed, when the so called cooked beef is cut to eat, sometimes it is still red or even blood dripping red meat. They call them medium cooked beef. Any kind of meat or even fish should be properly cooked because there could be germs and bacteria in them. When it is cooked it should have the same colour throughout otherwise theoretically it is not properly cooked or under cooked. Their excuse was, it’s medium red cooked beef taste better, actually virtually under cooked beef is not safe for human consumption. Who would not agree with me that uncooked beef or chicken may have contaminated with harmful germs and bacteria such as campylobacter, listeria, salmonella and E-coil. The infected beef cannot be easily found just by smell. Back home in Sri Lanka when we cook beef, often we cut into small pieces than cooking as a lump but in some British TV cooking demonstrations, they use it as a little log or lump form. If they prefer to keep them as a large piece then it must be properly cooked for a considerable time. These must be cooked for a fairly long time in a uniform high temperature not just toss up and down on a cooking pan for a couple minutes then say, it’s cooked”.

Red meat is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and various other nutrients that can have profound effects on health. A 100 gram (3.5 ounces) portion of raw ground beef (10% fat) contains (3): Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 25% of the RDA. Despite the fact that humans have been eating it throughout evolution, many people believe that it can cause harm.

Humans have been eating meat throughout evolution and our digestive systems are well equipped to handle it. Traditional populations like the Inuit and Masai have eaten lots of meat, much more than the average Westerner, but remained in excellent health.

However, the meat we eat today is vastly different from the meat our ancestors ate. Back in the day, animals roamed free and ate grass, insects or whatever was natural to them. Picture a wild cow on a field 10.000 years ago, roaming free and chewing on grass and various other edible plants.

The meat from this animal is completely different from the meat derived from a cow that was born and raised in a factory and fed grain-based feed. It may also have received growth-promoting hormones and antibiotics.

Today, some of our meat products go through even more processing after the animals are slaughtered, they are smoked, cured, then treated with nitrates, preservatives and various chemicals.

Therefore, it is very important to distinguish between the different types of meat: Processed Meat: These products are usually from conventionally raised cows, then go through various processing methods. Examples include sausages and bacon.

Conventional Red Meat

Conventional red meats are fairly unprocessed, but the cows are usually factory farmed. Meats that are red when raw are defined as red” meats. Includes lamb, beef, pork and some others. White Meat: Meats that are white when cooked are defined as white” meats. Includes meat from poultry like chicken and turkey. Grass fed, Organic Meat: This meat comes from animals that have been naturally fed and raised organically, without drugs and hormones. They also don’t have any artificial chemicals added to them. When examining the health effects of meat, it’s important to realize that not all meat is created equal.

 Red meat is very notorious

A 100 gram (3.5 ounces) portion of raw ground beef (10% fat) contains, Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 25% of the RDA. Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): 37% of the RDA (this vitamin is unattainable from plant foods). Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): 18% of the RDA. Iron: 12% of the RDA (This is high quality heme-iron, which is absorbed much better than iron from plants). Zinc: 32% of the RDA. Selenium: 24% of the RDA. Then there are plenty of other vitamins and minerals in there too, in smaller amounts. This comes with a calorie count of 176, with 20 grams of quality animal protein and 10 grams of fat.

Red meat is also rich in important nutrients like Creatine and Carnosine. Non-meat eaters are often deficient in these nutrients, which can have negative effects on various aspects of health, including muscle and brain function. Grass-fed beef is even more nutritious than grain-fed, containing plenty of heart healthy Omega-3s, the fatty acid CLA, along with more Vitamins A and E.

Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes and Death

The effects of red meat on health have been intensively studied. However, most of these studies are so-called observational studies, which cannot prove causation, just that some things are correlated. There are some observational studies out there saying that red meat is associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and death. However, if you look at larger studies that are of higher quality, you find that the effect of red meat diminishes.

In a massive review of 20 studies that included a total of 1,218,380 individuals, processed meat was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. However, no association was found for unprocessed red meat. In the EPIC study, a very large observational study that includes 448,568 individuals, processed meat increased the risk of death while no effect was seen for unprocessed red meat.

When it comes to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and death it is crucial to distinguish between processed and unprocessed meat, because the two can have vastly different effects.

The observational studies seem to agree that processed meat (not unprocessed red meat) is associated with an increased risk of an early death and many diseases.

But even so, it’s important to keep in mind the limitations of these studies. Conclusions drawn from observational studies tend to be wrong. The only way to establish cause and effect is to perform randomized controlled trials.

Does Red Meat Increase Your Risk of Cancer?

There are many observational studies showing that red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of cancer. The main type of cancer that red meat is believed to cause is colorectal cancer, the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world. A recurrent problem in these studies is that they seem to pool together processed meat and unprocessed red meat, which is unacceptable.

Meta-analyses where researchers analyse data from many studies show that the increased risk of colorectal cancer is very low. One meta-analysis found a weak effect for men, but no effect for women other studies show that it may not be the meat itself that is contributing to the increased risk, but harmful compounds that form when the meat is cooked.

Therefore, the cooking method may be a major determinant of the ultimate health effects of meat.

Here are some tips to make sure your meat doesn’t form these harmful compounds. Use gentler cooking methods like stewing and steaming instead of grilling and frying. Minimize cooking at high heats and never expose your meat to a flame. Do not eat charred and/or smoked food. If your meat is burnt, then cut away the charred pieces. If you marinate your meat in garlic, red wine, lemon juice or olive oil, it can reduce HCAs significantly. If you must cook at a high heat, flip your meat frequently to prevent it from getting burned.

Now I will admit that fried and grilled meat tastes awesome. I personally prefer the taste and texture of well-done meat. But if you want to enjoy meat and receive the full benefits without any of the potential harmful consequences, then use the gentler cooking methods and avoid burnt meat.

Where are those energy saving experts?

I have demonstrated how to cook rice and chicken curry by saving energy to a few TV shows and the one I done with Sirasa TV lasted nearly 45 minutes. One must see the actual video to believe me how I saved nearly 60% energy. This method has been practising for years and I look forward to help the general public in Great Britain as well. If I was disproved then there is a substantial sum of money to give away but if I was right what do I get? Your comments are welcomed perera6@hotmail.co.uk

5 Responses to “Why British TV chefs prefer under cooked red meat, are they healthy?”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Thank you Dr. Tilak.

    Meat has no nutrition only carcinogens.
    Now the world has come to realize it.

    Until recently WESTERN SCIENTISTS blamed COCONUT for all health problems in SL. Now WESTERNERS CONSUME coconut yoghurt, coconut sambol, coconut milk tea, coconut energy bars, coconut jam, coconut bread, coconut arse lotion, coconut shampoo, coconut facewash, coconut oil, etc. while SL people have cut down their coconut trees.

    IF SL people stuck to their ANCIENT BELIEFS calling the coconut tree the TREE OF A THOUSAND USES we would be laughing now.

  2. S.Gonsal Says:

    SriLankan can only laugh after taking some coconut arrak. Otherwise they are crying nowadays.

  3. Sooriarachi Says:

    I personally know a few cases with prostrate cancer. At this very moment one of them is terminal and is in a nursing home, as there is no surgical remedy available. While I am not challenging Dr Perera on his reasoning that Fish oil could be linked to promoting Prostate cancer, the gentlemen I’ve referred to are moderately wine drinking meat lovers, and they hardly consume fish, if at all.
    However, having read Dr Perera’s warning, I am now a bit concerned, as I am one of those people who believe in taking short cuts through various health foods in tablet, capsule or powder form, including Fish Oil. Should I stop taking Fish Oil or should I not? That is my dilemma now!

  4. plumblossom Says:

    Actually Buddhists in Sri Lanka are really not practicing the precepts of Buddhism if they keep consuming fish, prawns, sprats, crabs, chicken etc. A real Buddhist not only will refrain from eating fish, chicken, prawns, sprats, crabs etc. but also Sri Lanka as a country should refrain from animal testing in laboratories (unless absolutely necessary), from practising industrial farming where chicken for example are confined to cages or large warehouses and not being able to run around freely in the fields (gam kukulo) but instead practice free range and organic farming where chicken are able to run around feely, from manufacturing and using leather products but instead use rubber or artificial leather products, from manufacturing and using of fur products etc. However all so called Buddhist countries sadly are not doing any of these things. All living beings should be treated equally according to Buddhism, Jainism etc.

  5. AnuD Says:

    Instead of animal Testing they can go to Animal cell cultures. that is high tech.

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