Meat and Sweets    Play Audio
Module 2, Unit 5, Level: Basic

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Types of meat

Meat, red meat, veal, lamb, bushmeat, sausages, cold cuts, sugar, sweets, soft drinks, pastries, jam



Meat and Sweets

The top of the food pyramid is made up of all those foods that should be optional, occasional and moderate in consumption. For example, red meat and sausages, sugars, sweets and sugary drinks. A wide variety of foods that are different in nature, but have in common their high energy density and high content of salt, added sugars, as well as saturated fats. An excessive intake of fatty acids (TFA) can be harmful to health.

Red meat provides us with many nutrients if we consume it correctly, such as these benefits:

- Vitamin B12, which helps us to metabolise proteins, to form red blood cells and to give maintenance to the central nervous system.
- Zinc, which protects us against oxidative damage, to heal the skin and to create haemoglobin.
- Iron, an important element for maintaining adequate oxygen transport in our blood.
Serrano ham is, without a doubt, the meat derivative par excellence of Spanish culture, being Spain the world's largest producer. It is a processed, cured meat, a source of protein with a high salt content, so occasional consumption is recommended. It is rich in protein and variable in fat (from 9 % to 22 %), and also a source of thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12, vitamin B6, phosphorus and zinc. Other varieties of cured ham provide similar benefits but Iberian serrano ham is particularly convenient and tasty.

For a moderate consumption of red meat, it is recommendable to use it, as part of stews and recipes that include vegetables and grains; processed meats should be consumed in small amounts or as ingredients in snacks or sandwiches.

Most sweets are made from rapidly absorbed sugars, such as sucrose, glucose, fructose and honey, which are characterised by providing energy and increasing the palatability of foods and beverages.
Sugar provides our body with energy. The brain is capable of taking up to 20% of the total consumed. A controlled dose is necessary to satisfy all our needs. Because of its importance in the development of tissues, its consumption is key in infant stages and its consumption is vital to replenish glycogen stores. But is better to avoid the excessive consumption of refined sugars since fresh fruits, nuts such as dates, raisins, dried apricots, prunes, and smoothies are quite healthy options.
Representative Products
A brief description of some of the most representative red and cured meat products from southern Europe is given below:


• Lardo di Colonnata white bacon, from the back of the pig, coated with garlic, pepper, cloves, cloves, parsley, sage, rosemary.
• Speck, boned and smoked pig's trotter.
• Bresaola very similar to Spanish cecina, made from the meat of the hind legs of calves and cows.
• Culatello made with meat from the ham itself, flavoured with pepper, garlic and white wine.


• Louza (Λούζα) pork loin salted in vinegar, pepper, cinnamon and sometimes pepper and cloves or fennel.


• Jamón Ibérico PDO Barrancos, considered to be the best ham produced in Portugal.

Iberian ham in Andalusia:

• Jamón de Jabugo: refers to this town in the Sierra de Aracena (north of Huelva), the epicenter of production.
• Jamón de los Pedroches: this ham is produced from Iberian pigs reared in the pastures of the Pedroches Valley; a region located in the north of the province of Cordoba.
• Cecina is a type of dried meat of Spanish origin, similar to ham, but made by curing beef, horsemeat or other animals.
Dried fruit, honey, sugar, fruit, fruit, eggs, liqueurs, milk, etc. are used to make traditional southern European sweets.

In Greece, the most important are:

• Baclavá. Made with puff pastry, honey, walnuts and almonds.
• Kataifi. These are angel-hair pasties with a filling of almonds, hazelnuts or other nuts.
In Italy:
• Tiramisu. Sponge cake or biscuit soaked in coffee, mascarpone cheese, cocoa, beaten eggs, sugar and a final touch of rum or amaretto.
• Panna cotta. Based on cream or milk cream to which sugar and gelatine are added to make it curdle.
• Gelato, a dense and creamy ice cream with hazelnut, almond, strawberry, etc. flavours.
In Portugal:
• Pasteis de Belém or cream cakes.
• Travesseiros de Sintra with puff pastry, egg, sugar, sugar, almonds and butter
• Pão de ló, is a sponge cake with a rather spongy dough.
The traditional sweets of Andalusia are characterised by a clear Arab influence, which is evident in the use of almonds and honey. it can be pointed out the Torta Real de Motril, the tocinos de cielo de Guadix, the torrijas de Semana Santa or the piononos of Santa Fe. Special mention should be made of the renowned products with PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) or TSG (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed), such as the Mantecados and polvorones from Estepa, the oil cakes from Castilleja de la Cuesta or the alfajores from Medina Sidonia, in the province of Cádiz.
A high intake of sweets can promote overweight and tooth decay.
Reducing red meat consumption to a maximum of two or three times a week and increasing vegetable intake can help prevent some types of cancer.
Being overweight and obese can lead to certain diseases such as hypertension, stroke, cancer and diabetes, so it is necessary to avoid highly processed products that are high in fat and sugar.
The environmental impact of this group's foodstuffs is realised in the farms where animals are kept and in the industries that produce sweets.
Further references

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