Better Red and Processed Meat

Published on September 21st, 2012 | by Tanya Sitton

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(Yet Another) New Study: Reduced Meat Consumption Means Less Chronic Disease, Less Pollution

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Red and Processed Meat

A Cambridge study published earlier this month once again links consumption of red and processed meat to increased rates of chronic disease, including coronary artery disease, diabetes, and colorectal cancer. Researchers also found that reducing meat consumption offers significant environmental benefits, in terms of reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Pass the kale and lentils, please!

Crunch Those Numbers, Cambridge Science Guys!

Public health researchers analyzed data collected by a national diet and nutrition survey, to assess red meat consumption and health trends among UK adults.

As summarized by Organic Authority,

Among the study’s findings, published in the journal BMJ Open, the research team calculated that if men reduced their daily intake of meat from 91 grams to 53 grams, that move alone would result in a 12 percent drop in cases of bowel cancer, a 12 percent decrease in cases of type 2 diabetes and a 10 percent drop in heart disease.

Women, who typically consume less meat than men already, showed slightly fewer, but still significant decreases in the same categories: 8 percent decrease in bowel cancer, 7.5 percent decrease in type 2 diabetes and 6 percent for heart disease.

Using data analysis, investigators also found that decreasing red and processed meat consumption leads to significant decreases in greenhouse gas emissions, to the tune of 0.45 tons per person per year. That would be a reduction of nearly 28 million tons of CO2 released into the environment each year, by the population represented in the study.

This new research illustrates again what is no longer a secret, though (like pink slime) the beef industry probably wishes it still were! A meat-based diet – especially one that’s heavy in red and processed meat — increases your risk of the most common Western debilitating illnesses, and contributes disproportionally to environmental pollution.

Why Go There?

Reducing red meat consumption costs nothing but intention, and represents a concrete step you can take towards improving your health — and the health of the planet, while you’re at it. What a bargain!

And that’s not even taking into consideration the benefit from cutting out the stuff entirely — just by REDUCING consumption, you lessen risk for our most common diseases of early debility and death. Since we have no nutritional requirement for red (or any color of) meat at all, why stop there? Why not be even more healthy and eco-friendly (and compassionate towards fellow creatures), and reduce it down to none?!

In terms of human health and environmental impact, when it comes to meat consumption — as study after study clearly shows — less is more.

Ever notice how no one gets results like this with broccoli?!

Image credit: Creative Commons photo by quinn.anya.


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About the Author

is an ecovore, veganist, messy chef, green girl, food revolutionary, and general free-thinkin' rabble-rouser. M.S. in a health profession, with strong interests in biology, nutrition, and healthy living - find her on .



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