Eating Less Red Meat: National Nutrition Month and Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

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Create a Healthy Habit: Eat Less Red Meat

Everyone wants to be healthier in one way or another.  Some may aim to exercise more, limit unnecessary calories from desserts, or eat more vegetables.  Have you ever thought about limiting red meat?  The United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, estimates that this year Americans will eat a record amount of red meat; an average of 220 pounds per person in 2018, which roughly estimates to be over 4 pounds per week!1 While small amounts of red meat can fit in a healthy diet, the key to good health and nutrition is moderation.  Below we have provided a few reasons why limiting your red meat intake should be the next healthy habit you consider adopting.

Reduced risk of colon cancer

Colon cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, but it is also the most preventable. Limiting your intake of red meat is one of the main ways to reduce your risk of colon cancer, along with limiting processed meats and increasing your fiber intake.2 The American Institute for Cancer Research, a respected source for cancer and nutrition information, recommends the average American limit red meat to 18 ounces or less per week.  This is just over 1 pound; a long way from the 4 pounds per week that the average American will consume this year.3 This March is the perfect time to start!  With this month being Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and National Nutrition Month, start making small changes in your red meat intake to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. 

Decreased side effects from cancer treatment

If you are undergoing cancer treatment, a cancer survivor, or a caregiver, you know how cancer treatments can affect the body.  It can be difficult to figure out what to eat when experiencing treatment related symptoms.  One nutritional consideration for digestive issues like nausea, indigestion, diarrhea and constipation, is to reduce your red meat intake.  Limiting red meat can be helpful because often it is harder for your body to tolerate and digest, especially under stress.  For those who are experiencing taste changes, red meat can also worsen metallic or bitter tastes in the mouth.  Choosing turkey, chicken, or fish as your protein source may help reduce your side effects, as well as promote healthier eating habits.

Reduced risk of heart disease

Another common health problem among Americans is heart disease.  Red meat is one of the highest sources of cholesterol and saturated fat, which is why it is linked to heart disease.  To reduce risk, decrease the amount of red meat you eat and choose leaner cuts of red meat when you do.  In doing so, you can reduce your intake of the saturated fats that can clog your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease.  The leaner cuts of red meat include sirloin, round, tenderloin, and lean ground beef (90% lean).  Another great way to reduce red meat intake is to try including “Meatless Mondays” or a week without red meat to help reduce your risk of heart disease.  

Putting it into practice

Limiting your red meat intake does not have to put a damper on your dinner menu.  Choose ground turkey instead of ground beef in your hamburger, tacos or meatballs.  Experiment with other protein sources by trying new types of fish or different ways to cook chicken.  Beans are another great red meat alternative.  Below is a delicious black bean burger recipe that will surprise you.  Beans are high in protein, just like red meat, but without the added saturated fat and cancer-causing compounds.  

Black Bean Burgers with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Cilantro


Olive oil or nonstick cooking spray, for pan

2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

3⁄4 cup panko or bread crumbs, plus more if needed

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro 

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 

3 garlic cloves, minced

Pinch of red pepper flakes

2 large eggs

Olive oil, if needed to moisten (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and a bit of oil or cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl or food processor, pulse the beans until mostly mashed, while still maintaining some bits of bean.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, except the eggs and olive oil, and taste for seasoning; adjust as necessary. Add the eggs, pulse to combine, and let sit for around 15 minutes. During this time the panko will soak up a bit of the moisture. The mixture will be wet but still able to form a patty, similar to ground meat. If the mixture feels dry at all, add a bit of olive oil to moisten. If too wet, add a bit more panko.
  4. Form four patties and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes on each side.

Excerpted from The Meals to Heal Cookbook by Susan Bratton and Jessica Iannotta, MS, RD, CSO, CDN. Copyright © 2016. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Small changes to your diet can add up to big changes for your health.  By limiting your red meat intake to less than 18 ounces per week, you can reduce your risk of colon cancer and heart disease.  For the cancer patient, limiting red meat can improve your nutritional status and prevent weight loss by minimizing treatment side effects that can be aggravated by red meat.  No matter who you are or what your journey looks like, eating less red meat can easily become a habit you won’t need to break.


  1. Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook. United States Department of Agriculture.  Accessed February 17, 2018.
  2. Learn about Colorectal Cancer: What the Research Shows. American Institute for Cancer Research. Accessed February 17, 2018. 
  3. Recommendations for Cancer Prevention. American Institute for Cancer Prevention. Accessed February 17, 2018.

-article contributed by:

Susan Bratton 

Founder and Chief Executive Officer 

Susan founded Savor Health in 2011 after a career on Wall Street where she represented and focused exclusively on early and growth stage healthcare services and insurance companies. During her tenure on Wall Street, Susan was a member of the healthcare groups at firms including Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Robertson Stephens and Wasserstein, Perella & Co.

Susan brings to Savor Health over 25 years of industry experience in healthcare and business as well as expertise in strategy, finance and management. She is actively involved in a number of industry associations including Women Business Leaders in Healthcare. She also serves on the Advisory Board of HCap, the national leading venue for healthcare providers and capital to meet and is the Secretary for Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee. In addition to her role as CEO of Savor Health, Susan speaks nationally on the role of proper nutrition in the cancer patient at industry association meetings as well as advocacy group summits and other oncology meetings.

Her work in oncology extends beyond Savor Health and speaking on the role of nutrition to her volunteer work at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in pediatrics and as a runner for Fred’s Team to raise money for research at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Susan earned a B.A. from Duke University and M.B.A. from the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business.

Jessica A. lannotta

MS, RD, CSO, CDN, Chief Operating Officer

Jessica is a registered dietitian and certified specialist in oncology nutrition (CSO). She studied nutrition at Cornell University and completed her dietetic internship at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center. She obtained her Master’s degree through the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Jessica has worked in inpatient and outpatient oncology settings since 2001 in the North Shore-LIJ Health System. Jessica is in charge of all operations, including clinical and culinary operations ranging from menu development to evidence-based website content, relationships with registered dietitians and social workers and developing processes and protocols for intake, management and outcomes analysis of patients.

Savor Health is a trusted cancer nutrition expert that patients, caregivers and healthcare enterprises rely on for safe, effective and evidence-based nutrition information and programs. Savor Health is working to put an end to the one third of cancer deaths due to severe malnutrition by providing cancer patients and survivors with individualized disease-specific nutrition solutions through nutritional counseling, menu planning, customized recipes and a 150 recipe cookbook – Meals to Heal.

To learn more about Savor Health please visit


Kimberly Perry is a Lifestyle Blogger with over 1 million views!  Kimberly is a Certified Wellness Coach -C.W.C. , that is dedicated to promoting healthy products that help you to live your best life. Kimberly is an Award Winning Book Author, Inspirational Artist, and Magazine Publisher. She is an NBA Basketball wife, happily married for over 30 years with one daughter. Kimberly attended Michigan State University with a Bachelors in Mass Media Communications, she is a Licensed Esthetician and a Graduate of Heal Yourself Institute where she learned natural remedies for wholistic healing.

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