Picture a wild cow on a field 10.000 years ago, roaming free and chewing on grass and various other edible plants.
The meat from this animal is completely different from the meat derived from a cow that was born and raised in a factory and fed grain-based feed. It may also have received growth-promoting hormones and antibiotics.
Today, some of our meat products go through even more processing after the animals are slaughtered... they are smoked, cured, then treated with nitrates, preservatives and various chemicals.
Therefore, it is very important to distinguish between the different types of meat:
Processed Meat: These products are usually from conventionally raised cows, then go through various processing methods. Examples include sausages and bacon.
Conventional Red Meat: Conventional red meats are fairly unprocessed, but the cows are usually factory farmed. Meats that are red when raw are defined as "red" meats. Includes lamb, beef, pork and some others.
White Meat: Meats that are white when cooked are defined as "white" meats. Includes meat from poultry like chicken and turkey.
Grass-Fed, Organic Meat: This meat comes from animals that have been naturally fed and raised organically, without drugs and hormones. They also don't have any artificial chemicals added to them.
When examining the health effects of meat, it's important to realize that not all meat is created equal. The studies on meat, especially the ones performed in the U.S., are mostly examining meat from factory farmed animals that have been fed grain-based feeds.