A nutritional biochemist, Dr Ochuko Erukainure, on Wednesday advised Nigerians to control their consumption of red meat.
Erukainure, a Principal Research Officer at the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi, Lagos State, gave the advice while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.
He said inspite of the nutritional benefits of red meat, its consumption had been implicated in a number of diseases and ailments, with cardiovascular disease ranking the highest.
He said: “Red meat has been part of human diet from time immemorial and has been an important source of protein.
“Red meat has high biological values which include animal fats, Vitamins B, Vitamin D3, metabolite 25, selenium, zinc and iron.
“The protein obtained from red meat has been shown to contain between eight and nine essential amino acids required by adults and children respectively.
“The harmful effects of red meat has been attributed to its high saturated fatty acid constituents.
“Palmitic acid constitutes almost half of these saturated fatty acids and have been associated with increased blood cholesterol levels.
“Interestingly, the increase in blood cholesterol level by myristic acid and lauric acid (also constituents of red meat saturated fatty acids) is more potent than palmitic acid.
“Increased blood cholesterol level has been associated with cardiovascular diseases and obesity as well as progression of other metabolic diseases.
“These fatty acids also trigger lipid peroxidation and inflammation, causing an effect on cellular functions.”
He said that a lot of studies had also linked consumption of red meat with a number of cancers, particularly colorectal cancer.
The expert urged Nigerians to eat lean meat like those from sheep and other ruminants animals such as goats and camels.
He said: ‘These animals have a reduced level of saturated fatty acids and have been reported to have an appreciable level of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
“Lean meats have also been correlated with weight loss, reduced risk of cancers while it is low in energy density compared to red meat’s high energy density.
“People can also replace red or lean meat with vegetables and legumes with high biological value proteins and required amino acids such as soya beans, milk and egg.”