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5 Excellent Sources of Red Meat

When you hear the term red meat you’re likely to think of a steak or pork chop but where does this classification system actually come from and what causes some meats to be called red and other to be called white? It has actually been debated for many years as to which meat should be considered red and which is not and the scientific community has yet to come up with a definite answer so here I plan to layout down the facts and allow you to make your own decision on the subject. I’ll then suggest some of the sources that are typically considered red meat but as you’ll soon see this is completely a matter of opinion.

So what actually constitutes red meat?

Well it may come as a surprise to hear that isn’t a reference to the colour of the meat or even to how well the meat is cooked. It’s actually based on the concentration of myoglobin in the meat. Myoglobin is a protein that transports oxygen to the muscle and it’s also what gives the meat its darker appearance. A good example to think of is the fact that chickens use their legs far more than their upper body. This results in more oxygen needed in the legs and thus higher myoglobin concentrations. Higher myoglobin directly translates into the meat being darker and thus we typically refer to the legs of a chicken as dark meat and most other parts as white meat.

So as you can see there’s myoglobin in all animals it’s just that some have more than others and the ones that do, we say their meat is red. A good standard to think of is that adult cattle have about 2% myoglobin in their muscles whereas chicken have less than 0.2%. The general rule of thumb that most people use is that animals raised for livestock are typically red meat and chicken and fish are generally thought of as white meat. Wild game is often grouped into a category of its own and is often called black meat.


The best sources of red meat that are common to us are cattle, pork and lamb. There are also a few less common ones but you might be able to find them if you live in the vicinity of a large scale grocery store, these include ostrich and even venison which is often considered game but is typically available at a upscale grocery store. It’s important to remember though that red meat is great for you and has many health benefits but must be consumed in moderation. There’s a growing body of scientific evidence that seems to show that eating too much red meat can greatly increase your risk for developing cancer and heart disease. If you keep your consumption at low to moderate levels though there should be absolutely no problem with you eating red meat and it will actually add a lot of nutrition to your diet that’s hard to get elsewhere.

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