Red Meat Vs. White Meat: Which One’s The Winner?

Red Meat Vs. White Meat: Which One's The Winner?

Red meat or white? This raging debate has been going on for years now. With so many people blaming red meat for causing cancer and heart diseases. With so many studies going against it, it’s really no surprise that people steer clear from red meat.

However, meat must still be eaten. So does this mean we can rest assured when loading our plates with fish or chicken?


Before we reach a well-founded conclusion, let’s take a look at the difference between red meat and white meat.

How To Differentiate Between Red Meat And White Meat

1. Color

Red meat comes from the active, muscular parts while white meat comes from places that are only used for little movement.



Color is the most obvious way to distinguish between these two varieties of meat. Since red meat comes from parts of the animal’s body that are involved in major day-to-day movements like walking. The more the concentration of active muscles, the more the concentration of oxygen. This calls for oxygen-laden blood and darker colored protein flooding these muscles. This means these muscles contain more dark-colored protein that carries oxygen, and this is what lends this type of muscle its characteristic dark, rich red color.

On the other hand, white meat came from parts of the animal’s body that are only used for brief bursts of activity. Less activity calls for less oxygen and dark-colored protein, which explains why this type of meat is lighter in color.


2. Fat And Calories

White meat like chicken contains far less calories and much less fat as compared to red meat.

Fat and calorie content are some of the essential factors to keep in mind when choosing the kind of meat to eat. Red meat has much higher calorie and saturated fat content as compared to white meat. This is one of the cons of red meat since the high consumption of calories and saturated fat could give you obesity, cholesterol, and heart problems over the years, especially if you lead a sedentary lifestyle.


Lean red meat, however, has pretty much the same fat and calorie content as white meat. If you love eating red meat, but are worried about putting on weight – opt for lean cuts obtained from grass-fed beef and bacon.

3. Vitamins, Minerals, And Nutrients

Red meat is higher in vitamin, mineral, and nutrient content as compared to white meat.


Every hundred grams of beef (red meat) provides your body with 33% of your recommended daily intake (RDA) of vitamin B6 and about 17% of your RDA for vitamin B12. Fowl, on the other hand (white meat), offers 2% fewer B vitamins than red meat could give you.

Also, red meat is much higher in essential minerals like zinc, iron, amino acids, thiamine, and riboflavin as compared to white meat.


4. Proteins

White meat proteins and amino acids are utilized more efficiently by your body, which makes this type of meat ideal for muscle building.

This point is particularly important for people looking to build muscle. If you feed yourself a 100g slab of steak, you’re providing your muscles with almost 21 grams of protein. There is a downside to this though. Your body won’t be able to take up more than 74% of this amount during this particular meal. Red meat is delicious, but if you’re paying a hefty price for your meat, thinking it will benefit your muscles – know that about 1/4th of what you’re eating is going to be of no use to your body. In this case, it’s best to limit your beef intake so that your portions last you longer and help you save some money in the process.


When it comes to white meat like chicken, however, your body will greedily lap up almost 80% of the proteins from a single portion. The amino acids in white meat are also faster and easier to digest, making white meat consumption ideal for muscle-building.

The Final Verdict: Moderation Is Key

It is best to include healthy portions of both red and white meat into your diet, while giving a little more preference to white meat.

We’ve gone over all the important factors that affect the red meat vs white meat controversy. And you can now see that picking the right type of meat for yourself and your family isn’t always as straightforward as choosing between red and white meats.

Red meat isn’t always bad. Both red and white meats, in fact, come with their own set of pros and cons. While red meat is rich in nutrients and vitamins, white meat comes with a lower calorie and fat content. Too much red meat can give you colon cancer, weight gain problems, and heart diseases, while white meat is not as rich in the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that your body so desperately needs.

The best thing you can do is include healthy portions of both types of meat into your diet. Try to give a little more preference to white meat, while eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds to make up for the lost nutrients. Since red meat is such a favorite at most dinner tables, it definitely wouldn’t hurt to indulge in this variety – but pay special attention to the serving sizes.

Buying And Cooking Tips

When buying meat, especially the red variety, trim off the visible fat and skin around each piece to reduce the fat consumption.

When buying meat, especially the red variety, give your butcher special instructions to trim off the visible fat and skin around each piece, or just do it yourself at home. This way you can bring down the consumption of fat and calories.

Also, always choose the leaner cuts such as sirloin and tenderloin. This will further help reduce the fat content in your meat.

How you cook your meat can also make a lot of difference. For instance, choosing white meat because it’s lower in calories, and then dunking it in a whole lot of oil while cooking will end up giving you so many calories, you may as well have chosen red meat. Therefore, when cooking meat – be it red or white, always try to grill, bake, or broil it instead of frying, and make sure to avoid charring.