Meat, in its broadest definition, is animal tissue used as food. Most often it refers to skeletal muscle and associated fat, but it may also refer to non-muscle organs, including lungs, livers, skin, brains, bone marrow, blood and kidneys. The word meat is also used by the meat packing and butchering industry in a more restrictive sense - the flesh of mammalian species (pigs, cattle, etc.) raised and butchered for human consumption, to the exclusion of fish, poultry, and eggs. Eggs and seafood are rarely referred to as meat even though they consist of animal tissue. Animals that consume only or mostly animals are carnivores.
The word meat comes from the Old English word mete, which referred to food in general. Mad in Danish, mat in Swedish and Norwegian, and matur in Icelandic, still mean food. The narrower sense that refers to meat as not including fish, developed over the past few hundred years and has religious influences. The distinction between fish and "meat" is codified by Jewish laws of kashrut regarding the mixing of milk and meat, which does not forbid the mixing of milk and fish. Modern halakha (Jewish law) on kashrut classifies the flesh of both mammals and birds as "meat"; fish are considered to be parve (also spelled parev, pareve; Yiddish: פארעוו parev), neither meat nor a dairy food. The Catholic dietary restriction to "meat" on Fridays also does not apply to the cooking and eating of fish.
Meaty also shares some of the sexual connotations that flesh carries, and can be used to refer to the human body, often in a way that is considered vulgar or demeaning, as in the phrase meat market, which, in addition to simply denoting a market where meat is sold, can also be a slang phrase referring to a place or situation where humans are treated or viewed as commodities, especially a place where one looks for a casual encounter. This connotation has also existed for at least 500 years. Meat may also be used as an insulting or indifferent term for a human. For example the phrase "meat shield" meaning cannon fodder. Many misanthropic robots in science fiction use the word "meatbag" to describe humans (see: Bender, HK-47).
Methods of preparation
Meat is prepared in many ways, as steaks, in stews, fondue, or as dried meat. It may be ground then formed into patties (as hamburgers or croquettes), loaves, or sausages, or used in loose form (as in "sloppy joe" or Bolognese sauce). Some meat is cured, by smoking, pickling, preserving in salt or brine (see salted meat and curing). Other kinds of meat are marinated and barbecued, or simply boiled, roasted, or fried. Meat is generally eaten cooked, but there are many traditional recipes that call for raw beef, veal or fish. Meat is often spiced or seasoned, as in most sausages. Meat dishes are usually described by their source (animal and part of body) and method of preparation.
Meat is a typical base for making sandwiches. Popular varieties of sandwich meat include ham, pork, salami and other sausages, and beef, such as steak, roast beef, corned beef, and pastrami. Meat can also be molded or pressed (common for products that include offal, such as haggis and scrapple) and canned.
Nutritional benefits and concerns
|fish||110–140||20–25 g||0 g||1–5 g|
|chicken breast||160||28 g||0 g||7 g|
|lamb||250||30 g||0 g||14 g|
|steak (beef)||275||30 g||0 g||18 g|
|T-bone||450||25 g||0 g||35 g|
All muscle tissue is very high in protein, containing all of the essential amino acids, and in most cases, is a good source of zinc, vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorus, niacin, vitamin B6, iron and riboflavin. However, meat tends to be high in fat (red meat in particular), low in carbohydrates, and contains no fiber. The fat content of meat can vary widely depending on the species and breed of animal, the way in which the animal was raised, including what it was fed, the anatomical part of the body, and the methods of butchering and cooking. Wild animals such as deer are typically leaner than farm animals, leading those concerned about fat content to choose game such as venison. However, centuries of breeding meat animals for size and fatness is being reversed by consumer demand for meat with less fat.
In recent years, the health benefits of meat as a regular part of the human diet have come into question. In a large-scale study, the consumption of red meat over a lifetime was found to raise the risk of cancer by 20 to 60 percent, while causing adverse mutations in DNA. In particular, red meat and processed meat were found to be associated with higher risk of cancers of the lung, esophagus, liver, and colon, among others. Animal fat is one of the only dietary sources of saturated fat, which have been linked to various health problems, including heart disease, bowel cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, osteoporosis, and arteriosclerosis. One famous study, the Nurses' Health Study, followed about 100,000 female nurses and their eating habits. Nurses who ate the largest amount of animal fat were twice as likely to develop colon cancer as the nurses who ate the least amount of animal fat.
In response to changing prices as well as health concerns about saturated fat and cholesterol, consumers have altered their consumption of various meats. A USDA report points out that consumption of beef in the United States between 1970–1974 and 1990–1994 dropped by 21%, while consumption of chicken increased by 90%. During the same period of time, the price of chicken dropped by 14% relative to the price of beef. In 1995 and 1996, beef consumption increased due to higher supplies and lower prices.
Meat, like any food, can also transmit certain diseases, but undercooked meat is especially susceptible. Undercooked pork sometimes contains the parasites that cause trichinosis or cysticercosis. Chicken is often contaminated with Salmonella enterica disease-causing bacteria. Minced beef can be contaminated during slaughter with disease-causing Escherichia coli O157:H7 deriving from the intestinal tract if proper precautions are not taken.
Red meat and white meat
Red meat is darker-coloured meat, as contrasted with white meat. The exact definition varies, but the meat of adult mammals, such as beef, mutton, and horse is invariably considered "red", while domestic chicken and rabbit are invariably considered "white".
Ethics of eating meat
Ethical issues regarding the consumption of meat can include objections to the act of killing animals or the agricultural practices surrounding the production of meat. Reasons for objecting to the practice of killing animals for consumption may include animal rights, environmental ethics, religious doctrine, or an aversion to inflicting pain or harm on other living creatures. The religion of Jainism has always opposed eating meat, and there are also many schools of Buddhism and Hinduism that condemn the eating of meat. Some people, while not vegetarians, refuse to eat the flesh of certain animals due to cultural taboo, such as cats, dogs, horses, or rabbits. In some cases, specific meats (especially from pigs and cows) are forbidden within religious traditions. Some people eat only the flesh of animals who have not been mistreated, and abstain from the meat of animals reared in factory farms or from particular products such as foie gras and veal. Others believe that the treatment which animals undergo in the production of meat and animal products obliges them never to eat meat or use animal products.
In vitro and imitation meat
Various forms of imitation meat have been created to satisfy some vegetarians' taste for the flavor and texture of meat, there is also some speculation about the possibility of growing in vitro meat from animal tissue. Nutrition wise, imitation meat is comparable to animal meat, however they rarely contain the same levels of saturated fat and can often contain valuable minerals and vitamins while still containing approximately the same levels of protein as animal meats.
The use of large industrial monoculture that is common in industrialised agriculture, typically for feed crops such as corn and soy is more damaging to ecosystems than more sustainable farming practices such as organic farming, permaculture, arable, pastoral, and rain-fed agriculture.
Animals fed on grain and those which rely on grazing need more water than grain crops. According to the USDA, growing crops for farm animals requires nearly half of the U.S. water supply and 80% of its agricultural land. Animals raised for food in the U.S. consume 90% of the soy crop, 80% of the corn crop, and 70% of its grain. In tracking food animal production from the feed through to the dinner table, the inefficiencies of meat, milk and egg production range from a 4:1 energy input to protein output ratio up to 54:1. The result is that producing animal-based food is typically much less efficient than the harvesting of grains, vegetables, legumes, seeds and fruits, though this might not be largely true for animal husbandry in parts of the developing world where factory farming is almost non existent, making animal based food much more sustainable.
- Food science
- Hormonal meat
- List of meat animals
- Culinary name
- Vegetarianism/Veganism/Ethics of eating meat
- Red meat/White meat
- ↑ http://www.beef.org/uDocs/whatyoumisswithoutmeat638.pdf
- ↑ Dietary Fiber
- ↑ Meatless Diet
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Cross, Amanda. "A Prospective Study of Red and Processed Meat Intake in Relation to Cancer Risk". PLoS Medicine 4 (12). the Public Library of Science. Retrieved on 2008-02-18.
- ↑ Nutrients, Vitamins, Minerals and Dietary Information
- ↑ Associations between diet and cancer, ischemic heart disease, and all-cause mortality in non-Hispanic white California Seventh-day Adventists - Fraser 70 (3): 532S - American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
- ↑ IngentaConnect Content Not Found
- ↑ EXPERIMENTAL INDUCTION OF ATHERO-ARTERIOSCLEROSIS BY THE SYNERGY OF ALLERGIC INJURY TO ARTERIES AND LIPID-RICH DIET: I. EFFECT OF REPEATED INJECTIONS OF HORSE SERUM IN RABBITS FED A DIETARY CHOLESTEROL SUPPLEMENT - Minick et al. 124 (4): 635 - The Journal of Experimental Medicine
- ↑ The Nurses' Health Study (NHS)
- ↑ Intake of Fat, Meat, and Fiber in Relation to Risk of Colon Cancer in Men - Giovannucci et al. 54 (9): 2390 - Cancer Research
- ↑ Trichinellosis Fact Sheet | Division of Parasitic Diseases | CDC
- ↑ Division of Parasitic Diseases - Cysticercosis Fact Sheet
- ↑ Chicken consumption is a newly identified risk fac...[Clin Infect Dis. 2004] - PubMed Result
- ↑ Karch H, Tarr P, Bielaszewska M (2005). "Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli in human medicine.". Int J Med Microbiol 295 (6-7): 405–18. PMID 16238016.
- ↑ Nutritional Information Comparison for Meat
- ↑ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3559542.stm BBC News - Hungry world 'must eat less meat' by Alex Kirby
- ↑ Marlow Vesterby, Kenneth Krupa (August 2001). "Major Uses of Land in the United States, 1997." (PDF). Statistical Bulletin (973). 1800 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036-5831: Resource Economics Division, Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved on 2007-11-26.
- ↑ U.S. could feed 800 million people with grain that livestock eat
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