Quick Guide to Healthy Meats and Which Types to Avoid

Unless you’re following the Keto Zone diet as a vegan or vegetarian, meat is a regular part of the diet. But not all meat is the same, and the type and quality matters. Here’s a handy guide to choosing healthy meats for a healthy ketogenic diet.

Healthiest Meat Option: Grass-fed or Organic Meats

There are some key terms to understand when looking for healthy meat options at the store. First and foremost, look for the labels “grass-fed” and “organic.

While both options are way better than the meat from factory farms, there is a difference.

Grass-Fed Meat: Natural Diet

Grass-fed means the cows were fed only grass, hay, and forage—no grains, which are unnatural—for their whole lives. Herds are also rotated to different areas as grass is eaten. This way, the cows graze naturally and it’s also good for the environment.

Grass-fed beef has also been found to have a better omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, more antioxidants, and more healthy conjugated linoleic acids (CLAs) [1].

But there is a possibility with grass-fed that the cows were given hormones or antibiotics or that their food was sprayed with pesticides.

Organic Meats: No Hormones or Pesticides

Organic means the cows were given organic feed with no fertilizers or pesticides used on the farm land. Organic cows are also not given growth-enhancing hormones or antibiotics, but they can be more confined than grass-fed cows.

The organic feed can also include grains if enough grass isn’t accessible. The grain just has to be organic.

The good news is most grass-fed beef is also organic, which is obviously the best. Just know that a label of “organic” doesn’t guarantee this.

Meats to Avoid/Limit

If meat isn’t labelled as grass-fed or organic, that means it’s grain-fed and probably processed in a factory farm.

Factory farmed meat contains hormones, antibiotics, and GMOs that can be harmful to health, so it’s best avoided as much as possible. That being said, it’s better than no meat at all.

What About Processed Meats and Healthiest Deli Meats?

Deli meats often contain added sugars and preservatives. Look for options with no added sugars, and limit your processed meat to 2-3 times a week. Continue to look for grass-fed/pasture-raised options first.

Sam’s, Aldi’s, and Trader Joe’s often have healthier deli meats and grass-fed or organic processed meats like hamburger and sausage. Boar’s Head, Never Any, and Applegate are some of the better brands.

Finding Healthy Meats on a Budget

If affordability or access is a problem when it comes to buying healthy meats, here are some tips:

  • Stores like Walmart, Aldi, and Target often have grass-fed meats for a good price.
  • Some local markets, such as Sprouts or Natural Grocers, will have periodic sales on grass-fed beef. Take advantage of the lower prices by stocking up and freezing extra.
  • If you can’t afford grass-fed or organic at all, grain-fed is okay. Just try to eat more chicken than beef, as chicken is often cheaper and lower in fat, which is where toxins get stored.
  • Go to local farmers markets and get to know local farmers. Ask about their practices. Sometimes they can’t afford the organic label but do raise their animals and produce healthfully.

You can also look for game meats like boar, venison, and wild turkey, which are lower in fat but higher in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

Overall, the most important point is to do the best you can. Choose the highest quality healthy meats you can afford. By following the Keto Zone Diet, you’re still making an amazing choice for your health.

 

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2846864/

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