Figure 64 shows you the composition of several common meats. Meat is valuable chiefly for its protein, fat, and mineral salts. The juices of the meat in the muscle cells contain nitrogenous extractive materials which give flavor, and are possibly stimulating, but they have no food value. From the bone and also from the connective tissue, gelatin is dissolved in cooking. Gelatin is a protein, but differs in certain chemical properties from other proteins, and cannot be used as the only source of nitrogen. It is a very useful protein, however, and as it can be substituted in part for more expensive proteins, it used to be called a "protein saver."
In spite of the fact that meat is a common article of diet it should not be used in excess. Other forms of protein, as those in eggs and milk, are usually digested as easily, and most people can digest vegetable proteins if the vegetables are carefully prepared. Very little children should not have
Chuck rib roast, 9th and 10th ribs.
Blade rib, 7th and 8th ribs.
Flatbone sirloin steak.
Courtesy of Bureau of Publications, Teachers College. Hip steak.
meat, for it has stimulating properties which are undesirable for them, and it takes away the taste for foods more important for growth (see Food for Growth, Chapter XVIII (Menus And Dietaries)). When used largely in the diet, meat tends to cause intestinal putrefaction and to form excess of acid in the body. It is less likely to be harmful if taken with plenty of fruits and green vegetables and liberal drinking of clear water.
It should be realized that in none of the European countries is meat used so liberally as in the United States, and that there are reasons to believe that we might be better off if we could satisfy ourselves with a meat consumption nearer the average of other civilized peoples - say half as much meat per person per year as we are now accustomed to use. The fuel value of meat depends largely upon the amount of fat which is eaten. If a pound of steak contains 2 ounces of fat and 14 ounces of clear lean; the rejection of the fat means a loss of fully one half of the fuel value. The following table shows the difference between raw meat of the same cut, free from bones and connective tissue, due to differences in amounts of fat. Most people would prefer the strictly lean meat.