Differences Between Red Meat & White Meat With Examples

People have started digging for the meat that falls under the category called red meat and which ones are white meat. The queries increased recently when the WHO revealed that processed meat has been found to cause cancer and there is a possibility that red meats cause it too.

So, many people want to know what red meat is, so that they can avoid it and what white meat is so that they can eat more of that and reduce the risk of cancer. This post is going to list the meat of animals that fall under white and red.

Photo Credit: gab.giggle.com

What Is Red Meat, What Is White Meat?

There are actually two definitions that may be used — the common definition and the nutritional definition, if I may call it that way.

The common definition refers to red meat as meat that is red when raw and not pale in color when cook. White meat is pale before and after cooking.

As fas as nutritional science are concerned, red meat is any meat that has more myoglobin than white meat, white meat being defined as non-dark meat from chicken (excluding leg or thigh) or fish. So, choosing white or red meat depends on the definition you choose.

According to the USDA, all meats obtained from mammals (regardless of cut or age) are red meats because they contain more myoglobin than white meat chicken or fish. Another difference is that white meat is a leaner source of protein (lower fat) but contains lesser heme Iron, Zinc and Vitamins A, D, E and K (fat-soluble vitamins).

In one article, in which we talked about the red juice that drips out of meat when you buy them fresh. We mentioned in that article that the red fluid is myoglobin and explained the relationship it has with blood.

Examples of White Meat and Red Meat

This largely depends on the definition you decide to follow, which ultimately depends on the purpose of searching for examples of red and white meat. Some types of meat can be classified under one definition and red, under another.

If you are digging for health reasons, I think it is best to just follow the USDA approach. Meats obtained from mammals with the red color prior to cooking are considered red meat because they contain more myoglobin.

white meat

To use examples that we are familiar with, white meat is generally classified as poultry (chicken and turkey), while red meat typically refers to beef, pork, and lamb.

Are you in doubt? What class particular meat falls under? Ask in the comment.


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Ahmed Ogundimu
Ahmed is a Food Scientist/Technologist first of all. A Seasoned Blogger, Astute Marketer, Food Enthusiast and Manchester United Lover. I read anything and everything available so I know so many useful and useless things.


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