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Excessive Meat Consumption, Despite Being a Significant Source of Protein, Carries Risks: Dr. Samar Al-Rifai

13 Jun 2024

Red meat is rich in various nutrients, including fat which makes up to 80% of its content, in addition to protein, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, selenium, and niacin. During the upcoming Eid al-Adha celebration and the customary sacrifice slaughtering, the consumption of meat, particularly red meat, sees a notable rise. While meat serves as a significant source of protein and other nutrients, excessive consumption can pose various health risks such as increased risk of heart diseases, atherosclerosis, and elevated blood cholesterol, consequently increasing the chances of heart attacks and strokes.


Dr. Samar Mahmoud Al-Rifai, a general practitioner at Al Khor Health Center affiliated with the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), emphasizes that excessive consumption of red meat can elevate uric acid levels, resulting in gouty arthritis or gout disease. Excessive red meat intake can also lead to fat build-up in the liver, potentially causing strain on the liver in patients with liver conditions and increasing the risk of hepatic coma.


Kidney patients may become susceptible to higher levels of urea and uric acid in the blood due to excessive meat intake, which can hinder the kidneys' ability to excrete uric acid in the urine, ultimately causing a deterioration in kidney function.


The excessive consumption of meat can contribute to obesity due to its high fat content, resulting in excessive calorie intake and subsequent weight gain, increasing the risk of developing various diseases. Additionally, it may cause indigestion, lethargy, and drowsiness, as excessive meat consumption leads to difficulty in digestion, constipation, bloating, gas, and stomach cramps due to the prolonged digestion process required for meats.


Another health issue caused by excessive meat consumption is dehydration. This occurs due to elevated uric acid levels, which prompt the kidneys to take up more water to dilute these toxic wastes and produce urine.


Dr. Samar Al-Rifai further emphasizes that the negative consequences include a rise in inflammations. Saturated fats found in meat increase inflammation in the body, as meats lack antioxidants that resist inflammation.


Excessive meat consumption is one the factors contributing to the development of cancer. Research indicate that consuming large quantities of red meat may increase the chances of developing colon and rectal cancer.


In order to fully enjoy Eid al-Adha and prevent any symptoms or complications, it's crucial to adhere to certain precautions as follows:


Consuming meat in moderation and refraining from consuming large quantities in a short period of time. While meat consumption tends to rise during Eid al-Adha, research indicates that the recommended weekly intake of red meat should not exceed 455 grams of cooked meat, equivalent to around 65 grams per day if consumed daily.


It’s advisable to opt for lean cuts of meat with low fat content, such as shoulder and leg meat.


It’s important to consider the cooking technique used, as boiling or steaming meat without adding large amounts of oils and fats can minimize the harmful effects of meat.


Including all healthy nutrients for a balanced meal such as vegetables and fruits, which are high in fiber, can promote a feeling of fullness.


Staying hydrated by drinking 2 liters of water daily prevents dehydration and aid the body in getting rid of waste and toxins from consuming too much meat.


Exercising regularly, such as walking, can help in burning extra calories and preventing weight gain.