How Much Meat Should You Eat Per Week?

Red meat can be part of a balanced diet. However, you should eat it in moderation and infrequently. Read this article to find out what the current recommendations say about meat consumption.
How Much Meat Should You Eat Per Week?
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

One of the most frequent discussions in the field of nutrition is how much meat a person should eat per week. In recent years, several vegan claims have flourished that say that your health can be improved by completely removing animal products from your diet.

Science, however, doesn’t support this claim, as it supports the need for meat consumption to obtain all proteins and all the necessary micronutrients. Besides, one of the basic characteristics of a healthy diet is variety, and the correct proportion of the foods that make up your diet.

For this reason, you shouldn’t eat meat products daily. Instead, we recommend you also get proteins from eggs and fish. Read this article to find out how much meat you can eat in a week.

Prioritize white over red meat

There’s scientific evidence to confirm that eating processed red meat (not all red meat) increases the risk of developing certain diseases.

Eating too much red meat itself could be linked to increased cardiovascular risk, according to an article published in The British Journal of Nutrition. However, there’s no strong evidence about this association, and we need more research to make a definitive claim.

Despite everything, we recommend you prioritize white over red meat. Likewise, you could eat products from the first group 3-4 times a week, leaving red meat for once or twice a week.

Assorted raw meats on cutting boards, how much meat is safe to eat?
You should limit your red meat consumption. Instead, we recommend eating white meats to get high-quality proteins.

You may also be interested in: Mercury in Fish: Should You be Concerned?

It’s better to eat fish

In recent years, researchers have concluded that increasing fish consumption and decreasing meat intake is a positive habit for your overall health.

Fatty fish contain mono and polyunsaturated fats with anti-inflammatory properties, such as omega 3 fatty acids. Regularly eating these lipids is linked to a reduction in cardiovascular risk, according to a study carried out in 2018.

In addition, fish proteins have a high biological value, that is, they’re the same as those of meat. For this reason, seafood is a source of high-quality nutrients. They also have B vitamins and various minerals.

Considering this, we currently recommend you orient your diet toward a higher consumption of fish. We recommend you eat white fish about 3 times a week, while you could eat fatty fish 2 times a week.

Regarding the latter, it’s important to note that you should prioritize small fish – such as sardines – as they have smaller amounts of heavy metals in their fatty tissue.

You shouldn’t eat processed meat

Although there’s no solid evidence linking meat consumption to increased risk of disease, this relationship is clear when it comes to processed products.

Therefore, you should limit your consumption of these foods, such as industrial hamburgers. This type of food has a poor nutritional value and the risks from eating them far outweigh their benefits.

A variety of processed meats.
The negative effects of red meats outweigh the possible benefits. For this reason, you should limit how much meat you eat.

Meat is part of a healthy diet

As long as science doesn’t indicate otherwise, meat falls within the spectrum of a healthy diet. It provides essential nutrients such as proteins, zinc, and B vitamins, all necessary for energy metabolism and to prevent anemia.

In spite of everything, we recommend you prioritize white over red meat. On the other hand, in recent years specialists have started to recommend fish instead.

Seafood offers high-quality proteins, along with fatty acids with anti-inflammatory capacity, which can reduce the risk of developing certain diseases.

Remember to combine a varied and balanced diet with regular exercise. That way, you’ll enjoy good health and your body will carry out its functions in a more efficient way.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Carvalho AM., Castro Selem SS:, Machado Miranda A., Marchioni DM., Excessive red and processed meat intake: relations with health and environment in Brazil. Br J Nutr, 2016. 115: 2011-6.
  • Shahidi F., Ambigaipalan P., Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and their health benefits. Annu Rev Food Sci Technol 2018. 9: 345-381.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.