Roberto Barbani e Valentina Sabbioni
Given their wide geographic distribution, different types of habitat and need to source food on a daily basis, wild animals cover considerable distances, and as a result develop lean, well-oxygenated muscle. In some countries game meat is known as “black meat” (INRAN, IstitutoNazionale di Ricerca per gli Alimenti e la Nutrizione – the Italian National Food and Nutrition Research Institute), due to its high iron content, iron being indispensable for binding oxygen and therefore muscle function.
The meat from wild animals has particular nutritional qualities that make it a very healthy food: rich in protein, essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and above all very lean and naturally low in cholesterol. The fat content of game ranges on average between 2% (0.6 to 2.6% in cervids) and 5% (3.5 to 5.2% in wild boar), while its calorie count is around to 110 and 120 kilocalories.
Meat is viewed as the main source of fat in our diet, and especially saturated fatty acids, which are implicated in many diseases now typical of Western society. The World Health Organization recommends that our daily intake of fat should be less than 30% of our total calories, and that saturated fat should be limited to 10%. Because of the risks associated with fat intake from red meat, there is now increasing demand for lean meats.