Many Americans tend to eat larger than suggested portion sizes of meat, so many of us may be consuming a little too much than is good for us. There has been an ongoing debate within the medical and wellness communities on the benefits verses downfalls of eliminating meat from the diet. On one hand, organizations like the American Heart Association say that getting your share of fish and lean meat can be a necessity for maintaining proper nutrition, while others argue meat only increases the risk of diseases and unhealthful effects. Most medical professionals do however agree that red meat should make up the least of your meat consumption. There have been links established between positive health effects and drastically reducing meat consumption such as weight loss, less risk of infection and disease prevention.
Health Risks of Eating Meat
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine asserts that by greatly reducing or eliminating meat (not including fish) from your diet, you will reduce your risks of developing such serious conditions as high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney complications, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis. That alone seems like enough to give it a try, but there is more. There’s also been research conducted establishing the connection between too much meat ingestion and excess iron levels in the brain which can contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease. Red meat is the primary culprit for these issues and many others, including contributing to attacks in asthmatics.
Another benefit to eating less meat is decreasing your risk of contracting an antimicrobial-resistant infection. Animals bred for consumption are often pumped full of antibiotics to encourage growth and cut down on infections caused by unsanitary living conditions. Unfortunately, this leads to antibiotic resistant cells growing in the animals that can then be passed to humans who later eat them.
Nix Meat To Lose Weight
One sought-after effect of eliminating or cutting down on animal flesh is the increased potential for weight-loss. Nutritional specialist and medical writer L.Bellows asserts that vegetarians tend to have lower caloric consumption, less fat (as most meats and dairy products are high in fat), and lower BMIs. He says that people who shy away from red meat also have lower cholesterol levels and a higher chance of living longer, healthier lives. As long as people who give up eating meat don’t replace those forsaken calories with other fatty foods, they should definitely see weight-loss results.
Making the Tricky Transition
Laura Barton, vegetarian and writer for the Guardian has several tips on how to help ease the lifestyle transition for prospective meat-shunners. She advises people who wish to eliminate or decrease their meat consumption to do so gradually, as giving up something cold-turkey often doesn’t stick. Laura also advises people not to think of their new diet staples as substitutes for meat, but just as new foods, “If someone replaced my tofu with some tofu-flavored chicken, I too would be upset.
So likewise, it's best not to try directly replacing a meat you love with a vegetarian alternative – a craving for pork chops will never be met by a slab of tempeh, and vice versa.”
(Non-Carnivorous) Food for Thought
We aren’t saying you should go full-on vegetarian, but there are healthful pros to cutting down on your meat intake, specifically red. There are many health benefits associated with eating fish however, so that is not a food group you should cut out (unless you are a vegetarian for ethical reasons). Similarly, lean white meats can also provide health perks too such as ample protein, iron and vitamins. So now that you have some facts about eating too much meat, the decision is in your hands. Thanks for visiting EMC!