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Types of meat: properties and impact on health

Since ancient times, meat has been a great source of food for humans. It was obtained, mainly, by hunting, although with the development of civilizations and the increase in population , the domestication and breeding of animals for later consumption began.

Meat is all that food from animal origin, applying especially to terrestrial animals. Thus, sea or river animals are called fish or shellfish. Within this last classification enters what are shrimp, octopus, crabs, among other mollusks and crustaceans.

In this article we will see the different types of meat that exist, their properties and how their consumption affects your health.

Types of meat

Meat is a great source of protein, minerals, and fat. It is mainly divided into: red meat and white meat. Within the first group, there are meats that in their raw state have a redder and stronger tone, while white meats tend to be more pink or pale.

Red meat

It is often pointed out that red meat is less beneficial to health than white meat. This is due to the fact that red meat has more fat than white meat, although it should be clarified that this depends on the cut that is consumed, the loin being one of the best.

In addition to this, the characteristic red color of red meat is due to a greater presence of myoglobin, which is also associated with a greater contribution of iron. However, red meat can be harmful because it contains purine.

Purine is a chemical compound that, when metabolized by the body, produces uric acid. Said acid, when reaching high levels, can be quite harmful to health. Uric acid, for various reasons, can crystallize in the joints, kidneys, and other parts of the body.

Within red meats, we can find the meat of the following animals:

  • Beef (beef).
  • Pork (pork).
  • Sheep or lamb (sheep meat).
  • Horse (equine meat).
  • Among others…

Another type of meat found in the red meat classification is venison, camel meat, goat meat, and others. Also, even though the ostrich is a bird, its meat is also considered as red meat. In other cultures, it is possible to eat whale meat, dog meat, and so on.

It should be noted that excessive meat consumption increases the risk of developing cancer. Therefore, it is advisable to consume it in moderation.


Beef is one of the most consumed worldwide. It is also called beef, and within this are cows, oxen, bulls, and the like. Beef, in addition to being raised for their meat, is a great source of milk with which cheese and its derivatives can be made.

It is advisable when consuming beef is to choose lean cuts, since they have less fat. Thus, the tenderloin or sirloin are excellent alternatives. Likewise, it is advisable to eat beef in moderation, about 2 or 3 times a week.


For its part, pork is what is obtained from pork. Almost all parts of the pig are edible. Its meat is used to prepare all kinds of sausages, such as sausage, chorizo, among others.

It should be noted that, despite being considered a red meat, most of the parts of the pig are white meat. Pork meat has a high percentage of fat , with its leanest parts being the shoulders (front legs), the sirloin and the loin.

It is also important to mention that special care must be taken when consuming it. Pork meat can transmit various diseases, parasites and bacteria if it is not cooked correctly.

Sheep meat

As for sheep meat, you can also include goat meat, which includes sheep and goats. Sheep, in addition to providing meat, produce wool and milk, which is used to make cheese. Goats can also give milk to make goat cheese and so on.

Regarding meat, lamb is one of the most popular of the sheep meat group. The lamb is the baby sheep that does not exceed one year of life. Sheep meat contains saturated fat, and it is more convenient to consume goat meat, since it has a lower percentage of fat.

In addition, this type of meat contains omega-3 and 6 fatty acids in good proportion. It also has selenium, B vitamins and zinc, which is why it is beneficial for the body’s defenses.

Other types of red meat

On the other hand, horse meat is also consumed, although in some countries this is seen as a taboo. In Asia and some European countries it is consumed with some frequency. The meat of dromedaries is also consumed, such as the camel and the llama.

This meat has a low percentage of fat, making it perfect to consume. It is especially popular in Middle Eastern countries and some places in Africa . Furthermore, in certain parts of the world, whale meat is also used as food. This may taste similar to beef, however it will keep for a very short time.

On the other hand, one of the most eccentric and controversial meats is that of a dog . This is because they are companion animals in many cultures and are not usually seen as food. Despite this, in South Korea, Vietnam and China there are several dishes that are prepared based on this type of meat.

White meats

In counterpart to red meats, there are white meats. This name is due to the lighter and pinker color of this type of meat. White meats are generally said to be healthier, however this depends on the animal the meat came from, as well as the cut and so on.

The light color of white meat is due to a lower percentage of myoglobin than in red meat. In addition to this, it is lighter and easier to digest. White meat is said to be all meat from animals that are not mammals. However, this does not apply in the case of the rabbit.

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Among the main white meats consumed around the world are the following:

  • Chicken
  • Duck
  • Turkey
  • Rabbit
  • Fish (all kinds of fish, whether from the sea, lakes or rivers)
  • Among others

In addition to the main sources of white meat such as poultry and fish, we can find amphibians and reptiles. The consumption of these animals is much lower in proportion to those previously mentioned . Among this less common meats are frog, turtle, iguana, and even spectacled caiman and others.


Poultry are the main references of white meat, especially chicken or hen, this being the most consumed in the world. In addition to providing meat, birds are highly valued for their egg production. Among the birds that are consumed are the following:

  • Chicken or hen
  • Turkey
  • Duck
  • Goose
  • dove
  • Quail
  • Partridge
  • Pheasant

Although poultry meat generally has lower lipids, it is advisable not to consume the skin as it normally contains a large amount of fat. Also, it is advisable to select the thighs or the breast, since these cuts are usually the leanest.


For its part, fish are characterized by having healthier fats than other meats. And is that the fatty acids in fish are, for the most part, unsaturated fats. In addition to this, it has a high content of Omega-3. Among the fish there are two classes, blue fish and white fish , the former being the option that provides the most nutrients.

Among the different types of fish that are available in the market to consume, are:

  • Hake
  • Cod
  • Turbot
  • Sardine
  • Salmon
  • Golden
  • Sole
  • Tuna.
  • Mackerel
  • Snapper
  • Trout
  • Between many more

White fish contains a lower percentage of lipids , specifically 2% of its weight in fat. Among the white fish are hake, sole, turbot, cod, among others.

In the case of oily fish, it contains 5% fat, which is polyunsaturated. Therefore, it reduces LDL cholesterol, which is called bad cholesterol , and increases good cholesterol, that is, HDL cholesterol. Among the different blue fish are tuna, sardines, mackerel, salmon, swordfish, and others.


Rabbits are also part of white meat. These have a low percentage of fat, and this is unsaturated. Therefore, it is a good option to consume protein and obtain vitamin B.

The largest breeds of rabbit are those that are generally used for food, called meat breeds. Among these are the American blue and white American rabbit, the Californian, the giant chinchilla rabbit, satin, among others.

Other white meats

Among the other types of white meat, as mentioned above, are amphibians and reptiles. In much of Asia, amphibian and reptile meat is highly valued and commonly eaten. One of the most popular dishes that include this type of meat is frog legs. On the other hand, in American countries it is common for animals such as iguanas, turtles, and even snakes and spectacled alligators to be consumed.

This protein source is low in fat, contains unsaturated fatty acids and provides a large amount of vitamins and rich amino acids.

In addition to reptiles and amphibians, there is other white meat that is not so widespread in terms of consumption. This is the meat of guinea pig, a rodent that is also called guinea pig, and more popularly, guinea pig.

Guinea pig is also an excellent low-lipid protein source. Its consumption is widespread in countries such as Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia.

Main nutritional contributions of meat

The different types of existing meat are the main source of protein in our diets, reaching up to 20% protein in relation to its weight. It also provides essential amino acids, macronutrients and micronutrients.

One of the main vitamins that meat offers, and that is absent in foods of plant origin, is vitamin B12. Besides this, they are a great source of iron. It should be noted that, although beef and chicken are the most consumed proteins, fish is one of the best options.

Fish contains a low percentage of lipids, is a rich source of protein and is easy to digest, as it is white meat. This makes it one of the healthiest alternatives to consuming protein.

For its part, red meat can provide a greater amount of protein, however, its fat content is also higher. In any case, the ideal is to consume both red and white meat in moderation.

Recommendations in the consumption of meat

To consume less fat, it is always recommended to choose lean cuts, such as sirloin, tenderloin, breast or thighs. Another important aspect to reduce fat consumption is the way the meat is prepared.

It is best to prepare the meat on the grill, avoiding frying as much as possible. It is important that a correct cooking is achieved, since in this way possible bacteria are eliminated and chewing is facilitated, as well as digestion. In the case of pork, it is even more important to ensure that it is cooked to perfection.

Another aspect that must be taken into account when consuming meat is the supplier of it. You should always try to buy the meat product in highly reliable stores. Otherwise, the meat could be contaminated by not going through the corresponding sanitary processes. The quality of the final product is also influenced by the feeding of the animals and the care of them.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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