Like Your Meat-Glued Steak Rare? Not So Fast…

(A quick update for anyone who follows my personal weight loss story – I’m maintaining my weight loss at about 220 from my high of 237 from the fall of last year. There. Now you know.)

You learn something new every day.

These days, however, it seems what you learn is a bummer.

Next up on the bummer hit parade for me is ‘Meat Glue’.

Meat glue?

Let’s say you decide to follow a paleo diet, or primal, or low carb with an emphasis on minimally processed food. You go to the grocery store and pick up a nice boneless steak – or go to a fancy restaurant and order one. You say to yourself: “I’ll order it rare – why ruin a nice piece of meat by burning it to a crisp?”

Here’s a reason for well-done.

This video shows the clever trick that meat producers – at least the sleazy ones – do to take cuts of meat too small to sell and turn them into steaks you pay a lot more for.

In short, they use an  enzyme called transglutaminase to take small cuts of beef, pork, chicken or fish and glue them together. Sprinkle some on, and those itty-bitty bits of meat, after setting in the fridge, become a handsome steak.

Hey – wait a second – better living through chemistry – right? What’s the big deal?

The big deal is that you don’t know this. And because you don’t know this, you aren’t aware that all these little cuts of meat once had a lot more surface area where bacteria could land. Now this bacteria gets glued together on the inside surfaces of your glued meat, unlike a real steak, where the bacteria would only be on the outside.

So now you get your, ahem, ‘steak’ rare – and get yourself a mighty fine case of food poisoning.


What can you do?

Not much, unless you buy your meat from a local farm, which isn’t an option for a lot of us. Even if you ask, can you be sure the people selling you the meat are telling the truth – or even know  the truth?

This leaves only one recourse for meat-loving low-carb, paleo, and primal folks.

Memorize these three words.

Repeat after me: “Well-done, please.”

8 thoughts on “Like Your Meat-Glued Steak Rare? Not So Fast…

    1. I understand where you’re coming from – I’m considering paying a lot more for my meat at a local farm where I can get the organic grass-fed stuff.
      But there are times when I’m at a restaurant with family, and unless I want to sip a glass of water while everyone else eats a meal, I might be driven to order my meat burned to a crisp.

  1. Thanks for the vclip. Scary. Just googled and it seems it is an allowable additives in Japan (no surprise here because it originated from Ajinomoto!). And tons of research papers (japanese) on the subject posing its “vast” potential for future processed-food production.
    On another note, congratulations on your being able to maintain your weight loss. I lost my battle quite a bit and I am out of alternatives as I was already very low in carbs. Thinking of trying Dukan a bit these days but I am too afraid of the pains of going through an all-protein week.

    1. I’m not well-versed in the details of Dukan, though what I saw it seems a variant on Atkins with more carbs.

      Just curious as to what you’re eating. Low carb is tricky because carb counts don’t always correlate to weight loss or gain, and carbs can be hidden in a number of foods that you’d never suspect. There’s also ingredients like aspartame that can ruin my diet. I’ve been doing this for almost 8 years and I still get tripped up at times.

      1. I figured it is far better to let the official Dukan site to describe the diet to you then myself so I attached the link here.

        My understanding is it might start out like Atkins but ultimately more like tricking the body by taking away different nutrient groups each day or each cycle.

        Thanks for asking about my diet. I started three years ago by Atkins induction but stayed there for too long until my BMI reached 15 and was hospitalised. My bodyweight recovered a bit but I try to stop the increase by using Atkins induction again but there was no success. I can only stop gaining weight by taking mostly protein, perhaps up to 10 grams of fat and 20 grams of carbs. I even tried a 300 kcal per day week without the weight measure moving a single kilo. My current diet is exceptionally simple to describe. I figure I would not eat over 200 grams in total of seed and nuts in a day, So I picked the kinds with less than 10 grams of net carbs per 100 gram (organic pumpkin seeds, pecans, organic walnuts, brazil nuts mainly, and almonds are treats). And I eat a kind of cookies (at most 5-6 per day) made with brans (cereal fiber psylium), butter, eggs, whey protein isolate, erythritol stevia and lo han guo, theoretically with zero net carbs (Total 10 – Fiber 6 – Erythritol 4), 4 grams of fat and 1 g of protein per single piece of 20-g cookies (60kcal). And this is all, I try to eat the greens once every two weeks but sometimes even less. And I do not eat any kind of animal or fish protein apart from those in the cookies.

        In your opinion, how should I improve my diet in order not to gain weight?

        1. I would definitely try the Paleo way , see Freetheanimal and also Marks daily apple, remembering that internal core strengthing is the key to happiness with fitness….the paleo way…..,just my 2 pence that finally worked for me!

  2. I recently read that when they take the bone out of a ham, they just need to add salt to have the protein reconnect and produce a boneless ham. I always wondered why the texture of boneless hams were so, well, un-hamlike.

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