The key difference between red and white meat is that red meat has more myoglobin than white meat.
Red meat is meat from adult or ‘gamey’ mammals whereas white meat is meat that is pale in colour before and after cooking. Both these types of meat are nutritious, but due to the high-fat content and the high temperature needed in cooking, red meat has more health risks. White meat usually involves fish and poultry, but there are exceptions as well.
What is Red Meat?
Red meat is meat from adult or game mammals and includes meat such as beef, lamb, horse meat, venison, boar and hare. Generally, red meat also refers to beef, pork, and lamb. All meats obtained from mammals and most cuts of pork are red meats because they contain more myoglobin than fish and other types of meat. Myoglobins are the cells that transport oxygen to muscles in the bloodstream. Red meat is red when it is raw and gets dark after it is cooked. This darkness is due to more myoglobin content. It also has a more intense animal flavour in it.
Red meat has large amounts of fat, iron, zinc, phosphorus, creatine and B- vitamins such as thiamin, vitamin B12, niacin and riboflavin. This is also a good source of lipoic acid. Red meat has vitamin D in fewer quantities. The iron present in red meat is called heme iron. This is easily absorbed by the body when compared to the iron found in plant sources. Vitamin B present in red meat is good for a strong and healthy body, B12 for a healthy nervous system, B6 for a powerful immune system, zinc for increasing muscle mass and improving brain health while riboflavin is for eyes and skin.
Though red meat has all these nutrients, high consumption may cause different types of cancers like colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer and gastric cancer. This is mainly because of the carcinogenic compounds that form as a result of the high temperature of cooking and grilling of red meat.
What is White Meat?
White meat is meat that has a pale colour before and after cooking. Usually, this includes lighter coloured meat of poultry coming from the breast. This meat is made from fast-twitch muscle fibres and include rabbit meat, the flesh of milk-fed young mammals, especially veal, lamb and sometimes pork. According to nutritional studies, white meat includes fish and poultry (chicken and turkey) while excluding all mammal flesh. However, the definition of white meat is doubtful as some kinds of fish, such as tuna, are red when raw and turn white when cooked, and there are also some varieties of poultry that are identified as white meat are red when raw, such as duck and goose.
White meat is low and leaner in fat and protein content; therefore they are considered healthy. Yet, people can consume protein-rich white meat such as chicken or turkey for protein as well as calcium and phosphorous, which increase the health of their bone, teeth, liver, kidney, heart and central nervous system. This helps them to prevent osteoporosis and arthritis. Vitamin B2, which is found in white meat, can decrease skin problems, sore tongue, cracked lips and rejuvenate dry and damaged skin. Vitamin B6 preserve enzymes and keep blood vessels strong while maintaining high energy levels. It also strengthens metabolism.
What is the Difference Between Red and White Meat?
Red meat is meat from adult or ‘gamey’ mammals whereas white meat is meat that is pale in colour before and after cooking. Red meat includes beef, lamb, pork, horse meat, mutton, venison, boar, etc. whereas white meat typically includes poultry (chicken and turkey) and most varieties of fish. The key difference between red meat and white meat is that red meat has more myoglobin than white meat.
The following table summarizes the difference between red and white meat.
Summary – Red Meat vs White Meat
Red meat is red when it is raw. It is high in myoglobin, and that is the reason for its darkness after cooking. Meat such as beef, horse meat, mutton, venison, boar and hare are in this category. It has a high content of fat, iron, zinc, phosphorus, creatine and B- vitamins such as thiamin, vitamin B12, niacin and riboflavin. During its cooking process, carcinogenic compounds are created due to the high temperature and as a result, it tends to form various types of cancers inside the human body if consumed in high quantities. White meat, on the other hand, is light and pale in colour and contain myoglobin, fat and protein content. Therefore, they are healthier than red meat. This is the summary of the difference between red meat and white meat.