Our beef with beef gets bigger every week: The triple threat of high saturated fat and iron levels, plus HAAs -- byproducts of cooking meat at high temps -- promotes many cancers, heart failure, impotence and memory dysfunction. PLUS, a new supersize study links eating red meat to a shortened lifespan. But the meat-processing industry itself has handed you another reason to steam some veggies and grill those portabella mushrooms. Ta-da! Pink slime.
What is it? Semi-liquefied scrap meat or trimmings. To ensure this slurry -- which the industry calls lean, finely textured beef -- isn't loaded with nasty bacteria, it's treated with ammonium hydroxide (window cleaner). The spritz of gas is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration; the National Institute of Health has a webpage on ammonium hydroxide poisoning. Go figure.
Pink slime was developed as an addition to pet food, but about 70 percent of ground beef sold in the U.S. had it mixed in. Luckily, the recent public outrage was enough to get most American grocery stores to stop that practice (at least temporarily). McDonald's, Burger King and Taco Bell have stopped using the filler, as have many public-school systems. So what's your next move?
1. Seriously consider abandoning red meat for healthier proteins such as skinless, turkey, chicken, fish, nuts, quinoa or beans. Pink slime or no pink slime, red meat is still a quick way to shorten your lifespan.
2. Amp up your veggie quotient, including veggie burgers that rock; try different ones until you find what you love to grill regularly!
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to www.RealAge.com.