One of the biggest questions for many individuals today as they attempt to choose a dietary plan is whether or not they should eat meat. Regardless of any ethical leanings that go into the decision, there’s a lot of conflicting information bandied about when it comes to meat consumption and health – in fact, depending on who you ask, it can seem like eating meat can both help and harm your health! It turns out there are no easy answers, but with the following information, you’ll be better armed to make that decision for yourself.
How Meat Harms Your Health
Depending on what type of meat you’re eating and what the rest of your diet looks like, loading your plate with beef, poultry, lamb, pork, and all of the more adventurous options can have some decidedly negative impacts on your health. In a high-profile study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2012, researchers noted that individuals who consumed red meat were at a markedly risk of death from cardiovascular disease or cancer than those who didn’t.
Even looking outside of red meat, the prospects aren’t that great. With one of the highest contents of saturated fat out of all the foods you can eat, meat consumption is an easy way to boost your unhealthy fat consumption (and your bad cholesterol) while edging out vegetables and high-nutrition grains. Plus, many ways of cooking meat, especially grilling, can release carcinogens into your food that can eventually build up and affect your health over time. And of course, while no clinical trials have been done, many people are understandably concerned about the prevalence of hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides in conventionally-farmed meat.
In contrast, according to Mayo Clinic, those who eat primarily plant-based diets take in more fruits and vegetables, weigh less, eat fewer calories and less fat, and have a lower incidence of heart disease than do those who eat meat.