Hamburger Meat on the Paleo Diet

Hamburger Meat on the Paleo Diet

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Unlimited hamburger meat is allowed on the Paleo diet.

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Dr. Loren Cordain, the developer of the Paleo diet, contends that the key to losing weight and avoiding medical problems is to eat only foods that our ancient Paleolithic ancestors consumed regularly. To follow the Paleo diet, you'll need to exclude all grains, dairy products, beans, processed foods, sugar and potatoes from your meals in favor of fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds, poultry, seafood, pork and beef, including hamburger meat. Although the Paleo diet specifies that you can eat as much meat as you want, including ground beef, talk to your doctor before consuming red meat more than a few times a week.

Type of Beef

Dr. Cordain specifies that when choosing hamburger meat, you should opt for ground beef obtained from grass-fed, free-range cattle whenever possible. According to Dr. Cordain, beef from these animals most closely resembles the type of meat that our ancestors would have eaten because the cows have not been caged or injected with hormones or antibiotics. If grass-fed hamburger meat is not available, you can substitute organic beef, although this is not considered optimal because the meat comes from caged cows that have been fed grain, which is not their natural diet in the wild.

Fat Percentage

In his book, "The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat," Dr. Cordain recommends choosing extra-lean hamburger meat that has no more than 7 percent fat, and avoiding ground beef with a high fat content, such as meat with 20 percent fat. He also advises draining the extra fat from hamburger meat after cooking. A study published in the "Journal of the American Dietetic Association" reported that you can decrease the fat content of cooked hamburger meat by up to 50 percent by placing the beef in a paper-towel-lined colander, pouring on hot water and allowing the meat to drain for five minutes.

Health Risks

According to U.S. News & World Report Health, there isn't enough scientific evidence to prove whether eating the amount of meat recommended on the Paleo diet is safe for your heart or your blood cholesterol levels. However, the American Heart Association cautions that a diet high in saturated fat from foods such as hamburger meat can increase your risk of heart disease. In addition, a study published in the "Archives of Internal Medicine" in 2012 reported that the more red meat a person consumes, the more likely they are to die from cancer, heart disease and all other major medical conditions. If you choose to include hamburger meat in your Paleo meals, consider having no more than two 3-ounce servings a week.

Serving Suggestions

Since grains aren't allowed on the Paleo diet, you'll need to find other ways to serve your hamburger meat than on buns, in taco shells or on pasta. Pair grilled hamburger patties with grilled vegetables such as asparagus or summer squash, or create a colorful stir-fry with lean ground beef and a wide variety of chopped vegetables. Serve meatloaf with steamed broccoli or spinach. Make a pasta-free version of spaghetti by topping cooked strands of spaghetti squash with tomato sauce and meatballs. For a quick taco salad, add cooked ground beef crumbles to leafy greens, chopped onions, tomatoes, avocados and peppers.


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