Image Credit: Sifu Renka / Wikimedia Commons. This image has been modified.

What Is the Healthiest Meat?

Thanks to the Chinese space program, scientists in Beijing recently published a formal nutritional analysis of what may be one of the least harmful animals to eat, silkworm caterpillars. As I profile in my 2-min video Good Grub, they appear to have more arginine than soybeans, more zinc than pumpkin seeds, and more protein than snail meat. One pound of powdered worms gets you all the vitamin B12 you need for the day. The big nutritional selling point, though, is their low saturated fat content.

Farming insects is also less wasteful than farming other animals. Whereas we waste about 90% of nutrients when we feed grains to cows, less than half the nutrition of edible plants is wasted when we route them through bugs. Okay, but how do they taste? Like octopus, one technical review notes. What’s the downside? See my 2-min. video Bug Appétit: Barriers to Entomophagy.

The American space program is going in a different direction. NASA decided on a vegan menu for Mars, realizing, perhaps, that there are safer and cheaper sources of vitamin B12 than a daily pound of powdered worms. What about arginine? Worms, whale meat, pork rinds, and what else? See my 2-min. video Fat Burning Via Arginine. Though sourcing protein from plants is preferable, maggots have been tapped for their potential to improve the safety of the food supply, see my 2-min. video Maggot Meat Spray.

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my full 2012 – 2015 presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More than an Apple a Day, From Table to Able, and Food as Medicine.


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

9 responses to “What Is the Healthiest Meat?

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    1. Personally, I think this subject is the opposite of promoting meat. My thoughts (if I were still eating animals) would be something like: If eating bugs is the best I can do in terms of health and eating animals, then maybe I’ll just skip the animals.

  1. Well, the heading captured my attention, though I have no interest in eating bugs! I’ve been plant-based for 5 years and love it…lots of health improvements! However, I have many friends who are in poor health who just won’t try the plant-based diet, despite my well intentioned and probably annoying evidence-based comments and references. They call me “the food nazi” hahaha! I don’t dislike meat at all and my mouth waters when i smell bacon and barbeque…for me it’s all about the health. I also do health & wellness coaching and would like to have more information on what really are the safest meats to eat, in terms of toxins, other than those generated by cooking at high temperatures. Many clients would still follow a primarily plant-based diet, but want to add smaller amounts of “clean” meats as in The China Study and diets followed by other healthy populations. This wouldn’t be about necessarily reversing heart disease…just losing weight, improving lab results, and generally improving health.. Please direct me to any data on tested toxin levels in various meats; “natural” or organic meats, clean farm raised fish, etc. Think I’ll go grill a nice filet of seitan now ;)

  2. There is only one Man who Will make you completely fulfilled, and that Man is Jesus. I promise that if you seek him and let him into your heart you will experience rest and Everlasting Joy. I pray that you will take this message to heart and experience TRUE Happiness in Jesus. God Bless. ps. Pray to Jesus about all of your problems so that he will help you like he has helped me always.

  3. Hello,
    I know your posted that 1 year ago but may I point out that this website is about nutrition and medicine which are scientific fields? This means that religion hasn’t got anything to do with this website.
    I could point countless of evidences to show that Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all nonsense, starting with the false translations of Hebrew and Greek texts. But I won’t, since this isn’t the point of this website. Believe what you won’t, I personally don’t care, as long as you don’t do harm to anybody. By the way, I hope you get yourself educated and informed about nutrition and I wish a good day to you sir.

  4. The main thing that annoys me with NutritionFacts, which overall I do love and try to live by, is that Dr Greger doesn’t give any advice on which meats are worse than others. This article is like a slap in the face to people who are trying to eat healthy and need (or want) to eat meat for some reason or another. It’s incredibly impractical to suggest we eat bugs. I would love to know whether fish is healthier than cow, and which type of fish are the worst, etc. Not a single video covers those kinds of comparisons. I love the website but it’s so anti-meat that it has huge gaps of knowledge in areas that would be applicable for many people and would reduce the chance of disease.

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