Processed vs. Fresh Beef: What You Should Know + Which is Best?

by | Nov 3, 2021 | Uncategorized


When it comes to nutrition, beef is a beautiful source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, if you are already consuming more than 90g (cooked weight) of red or processed beef per day, it is recommended by health experts that you reduce your intake to 70g. Because some beef has a large amount of saturated fat, overeating might cause your blood cholesterol levels to rise. 

Making healthier choices will assist you in including beef in your diet as part of a well-balanced diet. You should reduce the consumption of red and processed beef to decrease the risk of bowel cancer. Red and processed beef are thought to be linked to the disease. In this article, we will discuss all you need to know about fresh and processed beef.

What is Processed Beef?

Processed beef refers to the beef that has been altered, either to enhance its flavor or to lengthen its shelf life. Salting, curing, fermenting, and smoking are some of the methods used in beef preparation. 

Bacon, ham, sausages, salami, corned beef, jerky, hot dog, lunch beef, packaged beef, and beef-based sauces are examples of processed beef products. Except for basic mechanical procedures such as cutting, grinding, or mixing, beef processing encompasses any activities that alter fresh beef.

Why is Processed Beef Bad For You?


Beef that has been processed is often seen as harmful. Numerous studies have connected it to ailments, including cancer and heart disease. Processed beef, without a doubt, includes several hazardous compounds that are not found in fresh beef. Here is why processed Beef is bad for you:

  • Processed Beef Consumption Leads to Toxic Living

Processed beef has a long history of being associated with health problems.

People who are concerned about their health have known this for decades.

As a result, processed beef consumption is more frequent among those who lead unhealthy lifestyles.

People who consume a lot of processed beef, for example, are more likely to smoke. Their fruit and vegetable consumption is likewise far lower. People who consume processed beef may do other things that aren’t good for their health, explaining some associations between processed beef and illness.

These characteristics are taken into account in the majority of processed beef research. Despite this, several studies show a clear connection between eating processed beef and developing a wide range of chronic illnesses.

  • Processed Beef Causes Chronic Illness

Several chronic illnesses are linked to consuming processed beef. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), hypertension, heart disease, stomach, and bowel cancer are the most common.

Only observational studies have been done on the effects of processed beef intake in humans. People who consume processed beef have an increased risk of contracting particular illnesses. However, processed beef does not take the entire blame as other health habits counts as well. 

All of this is also backed up by research done on animals. According to research, processed beef consumption has been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer in rats. One thing is for sure: processed beef is loaded with carcinogens and other chemicals that put your health in danger.

  • Processed Beef Contains Chemical Compound

Nitrosamines are primarily found in processed beef. Tobacco smoke, tainted water, and pickled and salted foods are all potential sources. Nitrosamines are primarily created when high heat is applied to processed beef products, such as grilled bacon or sausages.

Animal studies suggest that nitrosamines have a significant role in the development of colon cancer. Observational studies have shown that nitrosamines may raise stomach and bowel cancer incidence, which supports this assertion. Now let’s talk about fresh beef.

What is Fresh Beef?


Fresh beef is defined as beef that has not been preserved in any way other than chilling, freezing, or quick-freezing and includes beef that has been vacuum-wrapped or wrapped in a controlled environment. 

The introduction of vacuum-sealed packaging eliminates oxygen from beef’s environment, preventing aerobic germs from decomposing the beef. Beef products may have a shelf life of many months depending on packing, shipping, and refrigeration, but the freshest cuts are decided by a few variables such as color, smell, and texture.

How Can You Know Whether The Beef is Fresh?

To be on the safe side, always look at the beef’s color before buying it. For best results, choose beef that’s bright red, firm to the touch, and free of grease. Even if vacuum-packed beef looks a little brown, it isn’t always rotting or of poor quality because of this. The last point about beef is that it has a distinct odor of its own.

Ensure there isn’t any robust and unpleasant fragrance, but the mild, beefy smell is turned off. If you store fresh beef in a hot or humid location, the scent will intensify fast, so be careful to smell it before buying. Poultry should have white or light pink flesh if you’re purchasing it. Ensure there are no bruises, a green tint, or blood clots on the beef since it might indicate that it is old.

Benefits of Eating Fresh Beef

1. Protein

Beef is a good source of protein since it includes all the essential amino acids for building and maintaining muscle mass and repairing damaged tissue. Maintaining good muscle health is critical as we age if we want to remain independent.

2. Iron

Red blood cells assist in transporting oxygen throughout your body and are fueled by iron from foods like beef. Adolescent and pregnant women, menstrual women, and endurance athletes all need iron to operate correctly.

Due to iron’s importance in early life, the Australian Infant Feeding Guidelines suggest introducing iron-rich meals like red beef at approximately six months. Red beef has an iron type that is easier for the body to absorb than iron found in plant foods, making it a great source of iron.

3. Zinc 

Beef has more zinc than plant diets, and the body more readily absorbs the zinc in red beef. Zinc is essential for properly functioning your body’s cellular metabolism and maintaining a healthy immune system, which is crucial for combating infections. As a bonus, zinc helps to maintain the health of your skin and hair, as well as your cognitive and reproductive processes.

4. Vitamins 

B is the letter of the day when it comes to red beef and nutrition – as in beef and the B vitamins, which are water-soluble vitamins that help the body perform various duties. Vegans need to have enough B12 vitamin, which is present in high concentrations in animal products and is not commonly accessible in plant foods, making B12 insufficiency a severe issue for those who follow a vegan diet.

Among the other B vitamins that you may find in high concentrations in beef are B6, which helps strengthen your immune system; niacin, which helps regulate your digestive system; and riboflavin, which helps maintain healthy skin and eyes.

Difference Between Fresh and Processed Beef

There is a vast difference between processed and fresh beef. Processed beef is unhealthy. Every time one of these animals reaches a slaughterhouse, it is cut into pieces and mass-produced on an industrial scale. The more you eat this product, the more you risk developing certain diseases such as obesity and cancer. On the other hand, fresh beef doesn’t is naturally lean with its nutrients intact.

Processed vs. Fresh Beef: Which is Best?

Most people prefer processed beef to fresh beef, and both are equally delicious, but which one should you choose? The answer lies in the taste of the beef. Both beef types taste good and provide a stable protein source for your body. However, it is important to choose fresh beef for your meals as it is more flavorful and more accessible to digest than processed foods.

When we talk about freshness, we mean that it can be consumed within a week or two compared to the longer shelf life of processed foods. To ensure that you get the best quality food from your meal, make sure you go with fresh beef. This helps you get the most nutrition out of your meat and avoid possible diseases such as salmonella.


In contrast to fresh beef, processed beef includes various chemical components that are not found in fresh beef. Numerous of these chemicals are toxic to human health. As a result, consuming large quantities of processed beef products over an extended period (years or decades) may raise the risk of chronic illness, including cancer. 

However, consuming them regularly is not harmful. Just make sure they don’t take over your diet and that you don’t consume them daily. Finally, you should restrict your consumption of processed meals and base your diet on fresh, whole foods rather than processed foods. 

Ensure you follow the tips mentioned above on identifying fresh beef when next you want to buy beef. To get the best quality products, it is advised you visit trusted meet vendors near you. If you live in Phoenix and you are concerned about meat processing in AZ, Mike’s Farm can guarantee you get grass-fed fresh beef.

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Our farming approach is about practicing holistic, natural, and systematized grazing through regenerative agriculture. We aim to boost the regeneration of our natural grasslands and soil.