Animal products ranging from milk, to steak to egg yolks often get a bad rap for a number of reasons. We know we need them, but many health conscious people still try to limit their intake of animal products due to a number of assumptions about their negative health consequences. As it turns out, most of these assumptions aren’t grounded in solid research, and the truth is eating animal products is very important for your health.
The first assumption that leads people to stray away from animal products is a fear of saturated fat. The demonization of saturated fat originated from a study in the 1950s conducted by Ancel Keys, who looked at many different countries and compared their nutrient consumption. Much of what we currently believe about saturated fat originated from this study, yet the science behind it was incredibly poor. Ancel Keys omitted the majority of the data he collected and chose only to use the 7 countries that supported his hypothesis, neglecting over a dozen others that did not.
These findings led to new government recommendations for food choices and reduced America’s consumption of animal products, and even contributed to the rise of vegetarianism in the United States. As highlighted in the article What Does Vitamin B12 Do? a lack of animal products can result in vitamin B12 deficiency, leading to fatigue, reduced mental clarity and a host of other issues commonly experienced by vegetarians and vegans.
While fiber supplements for weight loss are popular, and fiber is clearly an important part of a balanced diet, it’s not as essential as it’s made out to be, and increasing intake of animal products won’t do any harm unless you create other nutrient deficiencies by eliminating fruits, vegetables and other whole foods.
In sum, make sure to get your meat. As long as you’re eating whole foods (rather than processed meat with long ingredients lists), you’ll be healthier for it.