The role of red meat in the diet: nutrition and health benefits

Proc Nutr Soc. 2016 Aug;75(3):227-32. doi: 10.1017/S0029665115004267. Epub 2015 Dec 8.


Red meat has been an important part of the human diet throughout human evolution. When included as part of a healthy, varied diet, red meat provides a rich source of high biological value protein and essential nutrients, some of which are more bioavailable than in alternative food sources. Particular nutrients in red meat have been identified as being in short supply in the diets of some groups of the population. The present paper discusses the role of red meat in the diets of young infants, adolescents, women of childbearing age and older adults and highlights key nutrients red meat can provide for these groups. The role of red meat in relation to satiety and weight control is discussed as the inclusion of lean red meat in a healthy, varied diet may help weight loss as part of an energy-reduced diet. A summary of the UK advice on the amount of red meat that can be consumed as part of a healthy, varied diet is also provided.

Keywords: 25(OH)D3 25-hydroxycholecalciferol; 25-(OH)D; 25-hydroxyvitamin D; Dietary recommendations; Nutrient content; Nutrient intake; Red meat.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Body Weight
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage
  • Micronutrients / analysis
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances
  • Red Meat*
  • Satiation
  • United Kingdom


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Micronutrients