Food wars: red meat vs white meat, which is healthier meat?

Red meat vs white meat is on our radar in this particular edition of food wars. First things first, we have to make some distinctions. What is red meat? What is white meat?

Red meat is mostly meat gotten from animals like cows, goat, sheep. White meat on the other hand is gotten from poultry animals; chicken, turkey and such.

A lot of debate has been going on over the years as to which of the two is the healthier option. The general favourite is white meat, but does that still stand? Let’s see if we can find out

Red meat

Red Meat (beef)
Red Meat (beef)

This is essentially meat that looks red in its raw state. This coloration is due to a high amount of the protein myoglobin. In simpler terms, the more the myoglobin content in meat, the “redder” it looks.

One big health advantage of red meat is known to contain some essential nutrients including vitamin B12, protein, iron and zinc. The iron is especially important because it is easily absorbed by the body. That is why vegetarians and vegans are usually deficient in iron.

On the flip side, red meat does contain lots of fat. It has also been linked to cases of cancer, particularly colorectal, according to WHO. This is especially true of meat that is cooked under high temperature (grilled, smoked)

White meat

White Meat (Chicken)
White Meat (Chicken)

This is a leaner type of meat since it contains less fat than red meat which is good. Although, some studies suggest that red or white meat or even those that eat only plants consume high levels of saturated fat.

This in turn increases the amount of Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the body. This is the bad one, you don’t want this floating around in there. It puts you at risk of cardiovascular diseases

White meat does contain high levels of micronutrients (although not as much as red meat) and also has high levels of dietary protein.


The truth about the red meat vs white meat debate is that both types of meat have their advantages and disadvantages. If you are a meat eater, then it is a good idea to include the two types in your diet. You might just want to eat leaner cuts of red meat and try to avoid charring your meat.

Take these few precautions and you can significantly reduce the disadvantages of eating red meat. Long and short, eat your red or white meat, exercise, lead a healthy lifestyle and you will be fine.

Segun is an ardent lover of fashion, reading and writing. When Segun isn't swimming baking or cooking he is punching away keys somewhere on the African continent. He is a creative with a penchant for finding (and in some cases creating) new and interesting ways of doing things. For more details, send an email to


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