Are animal-based foods bad for you? Good question.
Before we can address good or bad, we first need to define what animal-based food is. Animal-based foods are any food products that have the majority of their contained calories coming from animal origin.
Think of Custard for a Minute
There are thousands of products that are animal-based, and the majority of them are most likely bad for you. Not because they are animal-based, but because of all the other stuff that has been added to them.
A good example of this is custard, with the majority of the calories in custard coming from eggs, cream, and milk. It qualifies as an animal-based product, and pretty much no one would tell you that custard is right for your health.
A lot of people now assume that it is the animal products that make the custard unhealthy, but that doesn’t make any sense when you isolate any of the ingredients that are now being framed as bad for you.
Eggs have not been clinically proven to be bad for your health, and there are people out there who have basically only eaten eggs and have lived long and healthy lives.
Cream and milk could cause problems for people who are lactose intolerant, but I would bet that someone who had milk and cream every day would have a better health outcome than someone eating custard every day. The problem is in the processed white powders that get added to make the custard.
Flour, corn starch, and sugar turn the relatively harmless egg, cream, and milk into a hyper-palatable, blood sugar raising, gluten-filled product that is in no way good for your health. This example illustrates that animal-based products that are purely animal-based are actually difficult to make unhealthy, but in conjunction with highly processed carbohydrates creates a really delicious, but unhealthy food product.
The problem simply stated is: “It is not the meat, it is what else you eat.”
Why Are Animal Foods Good For You?
Believe it or not, but you don’t need to eat the rainbow to be healthy. You don’t need to load up on fruits and vegetables the way you’ve always been taught.
Animal foods, as it turns out, are the most nutrient-dense foods you can find. Liver is basically a multivitamin and provides nutrients like folate, vitamin A, and yes, vitamin C. It is the most nutrient-dense food you can find. Egg yolks are second — another animal food.
The nutrients in meat, eggs, organ meats, and other animal-based foods like bone broth are also more bioavailable. That means your body can absorb the nutrients in animal foods more easily than from plant foods.
You will be far healthier on an animal-based diet than a plant-based one. A better question might be: are plants good for you?
There is actually a plant toxicity scale. That is because plants can be toxic for you. Even if we think we’ve managed to figure out which plants are safe to eat by now, we haven’t.
What do apricot kernels, spinach, kale, coffee, and peanuts have in common? They can all kill you. Yes, if you eat too much kale or spinach, you can die.
This is important to keep in mind the next time someone tries to convince you that animal foods are bad and a plant-based diet is the way to go.
But Isn’t Saturated Fat Bad for You?
Never worry about saturated fat. The idea that it is bad for you is a myth. The body requires saturated fat for healthy hormone production. Polyunsaturated fats from sources like canola and sunflower seed oil are the real villains.
They cause inflammation in the body, can signal your fat cells to grow, and cause oxidative stress.
Animal foods aren’t bad, they’re good. They’re good and good for you. Remember that.