“Red meat is an excellent source of protein and iron,” says Helen West, a U.K.-based dietitian and blogger at foodandnonsense.com. However, “while moderate amounts of lean red meat have been shown to be fine to include in your diet,” she adds, “eating lots of it has been associated with shorter life spans,” so best to stick to three to four times a week.

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And not all meat is created equal. “There’s now strong evidence that eating large amounts of processed meats (like sausage, bacon, salami, and lunch meats) can be quite harmful,” she says, because of the potentially cancer-causing nitrites and nitrates they contain, and should be limited to a card-deck-size portion once or twice a week.


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