Why should you worry about which types of meat you choose? After all, there are no carbohydrates in meat. Even though there are no carbs in meat, you should still be concerned by the amount of saturated fat in your meat products and how much you’re consuming daily.

Having diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease, same as smoking, hypertension, and high blood cholesterol. (1) “If you have diabetes, you are at a least two times as likely as someone who does not have diabetes to have heart disease or a stroke.” (2)

Individuals who have had a previous heart attack are at a greater risk to have another one. (2) Family history of heart disease is a risk factor, while that cannot be changed, we can take steps to control other risk factors for heart disease such as central obesity, abnormal cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and smoking. (2)

One way to help increase your heart health is to keep the meat you’re consuming lean. Some meats, especially processed meats such as: salami, bologna, sausage, and ribs can be very high in fat. These foods aren’t just high in fat; they’re high in the wrong type of fat that you want to consume–saturated fat. In order to tell if the meat you’re choosing is lean – stick to this rule: For every 3g of total fat, you want the product to have at least 7g of protein. In other words, if you are looking at a nutrition facts label, you want the total fat to be less than half the protein.

Here is an example: Imagine you’re reading the label of one brand of turkey burgers. They have 15g of total fat, and 16 grams of protein. Would this be a good choice? You want the total fat to be less than half the total protein for the product. For this product to be lean, it would need to have less than 8 grams of total fat. Even though this is a turkey product, that doesn’t mean that it is a lean option.

As another example: A different brand of turkey burger has 10g of total fat, and 24g of protein. Would this be a good choice? Yes, half of 24 is 12, and 10 is less than 12. This would be a lean protein option.

So, take a peak and see what is in your fridge. Look at food labels on many of the common offenders; lunch meat, ground meat, hot dogs, frozen TV dinners, frozen breakfast sandwiches, etc. Do the foods in your fridge fit the lean meat rule? If not, you should begin to consider alternatives and check labels before making a purchase. You want to consume more lean meats like; white meat turkey and chicken, fish, pork, lean red meat cuts like round and sirloin.

If your product has the same amount of fat as protein–it is NOT a lean meat. If your product has more fat than protein – it is NOT a lean meat, and should be avoided. You and your heart are worth it. Start today and make better, leaner choices for a healthier tomorrow.

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