Meat nutritional composition and nutritive role in the human diet

Meat Sci. 2013 Mar;93(3):586-92. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2012.09.018. Epub 2012 Oct 31.


Meat has exerted a crucial role in human evolution and is an important component of a healthy and well balanced diet due to its nutritional richness. The present review attempts to sum up meats role and importance in human nutrition as well as examine some pejorative beliefs about meat consumption. Meat is a valuable source of high biological value protein, iron, vitamin B12 as well as other B complex vitamins, zinc, selenium and phosphorus. Fat content and fatty acid profile, a constant matter of concern when referring to meat consumption, is highly dependent on species, feeding system as well as the cut used. Pork meat can have the highest fat content but poultry skin is not far behind. It is also crucial to distinguish meat cuts from other meat products especially regarding its association with disease risk. As in other dietary components, moderation is advisable but meat has been shown to be an important component of a balanced diet.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attitude to Health
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fats
  • Food Safety
  • Humans
  • Meat*
  • Micronutrients
  • Nutritive Value


  • Dietary Fats
  • Micronutrients