Meat

From WikiMD's Food, Medicine & Wellness Encyclopedia

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Meat refers to the animal tissue consumed as food. It is primarily the skeletal muscle and associated fat, but the term can also encompass organs and other edible parts of animals.

Overview[edit | edit source]

Most commonly, "meat" pertains to skeletal muscle tissue and the fat associated with it. However, the term can also refer to non-muscle organs consumed as food, such as liver, brain, and kidneys. In the meat processing industry of some countries, "meat" is restricted to the flesh of mammalian species like pigs, cattle, and the like, excluding fish, insects, and poultry.

Types of Meat[edit | edit source]

  • Beef and Veal: Derived from cattle.
  • Pork, Ham, and Bacon: From pigs.
  • Mutton: From sheep.
  • Venison: From deer.
  • Poultry: Chickens, ducks, turkeys, and other birds.
  • Fish and Seafood: Aquatic animals.
  • Insects: Consumed in many cultures around the world.

Other Varieties[edit | edit source]

  • Sausages: Often a mix of ground meats, spices, and fillers.
  • Offal: Organs like liver, brain, and kidneys.

Nutritional Value[edit | edit source]

Meat is a primary source of protein, vital for the growth, repair, and maintenance of body tissues. It also supplies essential nutrients like iron, zinc, and B vitamins. While meat is a high-protein food source, it can be more expensive than plant-based sources. Alternatives to meat for protein intake include milk, eggs, cheese, legumes, nuts, and certain grains.

Vegetarianism and Veganism[edit | edit source]

Some people choose to abstain from consuming meat for ethical, health, or environmental reasons. These individuals are known as vegetarians. Those who avoid all animal products, including dairy and eggs, are termed vegans.

Consumption Patterns[edit | edit source]

Humans have a varied diet that includes both plant and animal sources. Those who primarily consume meat are termed carnivores, while those who consume both plant and animal products are omnivores.

Color Classification[edit | edit source]

  • Red Meat: Typically refers to meats like beef and mutton which have a darker hue.
  • White Meat: Poultry and fish are often categorized as white meat due to their lighter color.

Preparation and Cooking[edit | edit source]

Meat can be prepared using various methods ranging from roasting to boiling. The method of preparation often depends on the type of meat and the desired end product.

Methods[edit | edit source]

  • Dry Methods: Roasting, broiling, pan broiling, sautéing.
  • Moist Methods: Boiling, steaming, frying.
  • Combination Methods: Pot roasting, stewing, fricasseeing.

Selection and Cuts[edit | edit source]

The choice of meat cuts and their use varies depending on the animal. For instance:

  • Beef: Includes cuts like filet, sirloin, and brisket.
  • Veal: Includes neck, shoulder, sweetbread, and loin.
  • Lamb and Mutton: Features cuts like neck, shoulder, ribs, and loin.
  • Pork: Varieties include the head, shoulder, loin, and ham.

Safety Considerations[edit | edit source]

Certain raw meats can pose health risks if not handled and cooked properly. It's crucial to ensure that meats are cooked to safe internal temperatures to kill any harmful pathogens.

Summary[edit | edit source]

Meat, in its various forms and preparations, remains a staple in many diets worldwide. As with any food, balance and moderation are essential, along with understanding the nutritional and ethical implications of consumption choices.

Also see[edit | edit source]

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External links[edit source]

Nutrition lookup (USDA)

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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD