Meat Considered a “Sugar Equal” In Fueling Worldwide Obesity

Posted 09/27/2016 | By HealthCorps

A new study from the University of Adelaide in Australia suggests that meat fuels obesity, worldwide, to the same degree that sugar does.

Health experts in the U.S. and worldwide have been focused on sugar as a main driver of obesity. There are currently about 1.9 billion individuals worldwide that are overweight and about 600 million of these individuals also meet the criteria of obesity.

The World Health Organization (WHO) identifies the main cause of obesity as an imbalance between calories people consume versus calories that they burn during activities (body functions and physical exercise). Recent recommendations have focused specifically on lower calorie intake and especially limiting sugar intake as a means to manage obesity and also to reduce the risk of developing obesity.

The researchers involved in this new study suggest that while it is prudent to alert the general public to limit intake of calories and especially sugar calories and fa consumption, based on their findings, meat protein in the current amounts consumed is also a significant driver of obesity rates.

Meat is considered a good source of certain vitamins and minerals. Consumers have been told to mostly control their red meat consumption, especially fatty cuts, fried meats and charred meat, to limit cholesterol levels, lower heart disease risk, and reduce the risk of developing certain cancers.

This study suggests that regular meat consumption is directly linked to obesity.

The study looked at meat consumption and obesity rates in 170 countries. The researchers found that sugar prevalence in the food supply explains about 50 percent of obesity variation. They then linked meat proteins to account for the other 50% of obesity rates. The study did correct for variables including a nation’s wealth, calorie consumption, levels of urbanization and physical activity. They found that sugar was still a crucial independent factor, contributing about 13 percent to obesity rates. Meat proteins contributed another 13 percent.

It appears that meat protein is digested (from a meal) after fats and carbohydrates are processed by the gut, and this may account for why meat calories are identified as excess calories. Those extra calories are then stored as fat. The researchers are clear that identifying a habit of regular meat protein as a risk factor of obesity, does not preclude the current recommendations to monitor sugar and processed carbohydrate consumption, as well as overall daily calorie intake and exercise habits.

One way to limit meat protein consumption is to focus on non-meat proteins. Consider including beans, nuts, seeds, legumes, fish, eggs and egg whites, Greek yogurt, high protein pasta as a way to meet protein needs while limiting meat proteins. You’ll also benefit from the lower saturated fat intake associated with non-meat proteins. Soy protein is a great choice because it is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids.

A yogurt parfait made with Greek non-fat yogurt, berries, nuts and roasted edamame beans is a protein-packed meal that offers quality protein, calcium, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.

Source: Medical News Today

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