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The Meat of the Matter

May 17, 2010

Along with protein, meat and eggs contain saturated fat and cholesterol, but quality and cooking techniques are far more important than the fat content in these foods. Eggs are a good and relatively inexpensive source of protein and other nutrients. We strongly recommend selecting organically raised, free-range meat, poultry and eggs whenever possible. Not only are they more flavorful, they're also more healthful, because they don't contain harmful hormones including growth hormone, and antibiotics. Follow these additional guidelines when purchasing:

Eggs: Free-range eggs are about 20 times higher in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3-enriched eggs are also now available.

Cold cuts and hot dogs: Less expensive brands may be full of added sugars and other hidden carbohydrates. Processed meats such as hot dogs, bologna, salami, olive loaf and the like usually contain nitrates and nitrites. These preservatives are major sources of nitrosamines, which may contribute to insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes. They have been definitely linked to stomach and colon cancer. Whenever possible, choose nitrite- and nitrate-free deli meats or plain sliced roast beef, turkey and the like.

Bacon and such: Most sausages, bacon and aged hams also contain nitrates and nitrites. It is a common misconception that doing Atkins means eating large amounts of bacon and sausage. Both should be eaten occasionally and in moderation. Seek out preservative-free brands sold primarily in natural foods stores.

How you cook your meat also makes a difference. High-temperature frying, broiling, charring, and grilling can create substances that may increase your risk of cancer. In general, the more well done or charred your meat is, the more of these substances it will contain. To minimize your exposure when cooking at home, we offer the following tips for grilling:

Lightly grill meats and fish; do not let them get black.

Parboil or bake chicken before grilling so that you minimize time on the grill.

Bake spareribs or pork before finishing off on the grill

Brush barbecue sauce on meal after you remove from the grill, instead of before.

Use marinades with little or no oil. Oil can drip into the fire, causing flare-ups that burn food.

For the same reason, remove excess fat from meat before grilling.

Register with Atkins today for additional tips, low carb recipes, and ideas on how to overcome your weight loss plateau.

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