Protein, Meat and Mortality

raw meat

We know that animal products have a serious environmental impact, but what about the impact on our health? According to a recent, large scale study, men and women who ate more animal protein had a higher mortality rate.

The study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, looked at over 85,000 men and 44,000 women following a either a plant- or animal-based low carb/high protein diet.

Researchers found a higher incidence of death from cancer and cardiovascular problems in the participants who ate a primarily animal-based diet.

What does this mean for you?

If you’re eating meat or dairy with most of your meals, you might consider cutting back. Replacing just one or two animal-based meals per week with veggie options can go a long way toward improving your health. Here are some tips to get you going!

I know we’ve got some savvy vegetarians and vegans out there. What are your top tips for cutting the animal products?

[h/t: Planet Green]

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by wolfworld

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5 thoughts on “Protein, Meat and Mortality”

  1. Did the study take into account what kind of meat was consumed? Was it factory farmed meat, raised in unsanitary conditions and fed things the animals were never meant to eat? Toxins move up the food chain, so if you’re eating a sick animal, you’re likely going to end up sick as well. I would be interested to see how the numbers would turn out if the study only looked at pastured, healthy animals, such as grass-fed beef. I really think that what we do to our meat has so much to do with our health, more than meat in and of itself.

    That being said, I have tried to cut back, if only for budgetary reasons, and have really enjoyed the challenge of finding more vegetarian/vegan meals, or using meat as a small part of a dish instead of the main course.

  2. I learned so much more about cooking once I became a vegan than I ever did as an omnivore. There are so many creative things you can do with plant foods if you open your mind from the standard meat + starch meal. My top tip is to learn how to make really great sauces and use lots of flavorful seasonings. Peanut sauce makes a stir fry amazing, adding some cumin and cinnamon to chickpeas will really liven them up, and a bit of tamari (soy sauce) and toasted sesame oil will make you crave steamed broccoli.
    Thanks for posting these stats!

  3. The study done really falls apart after closer inspection. I am continually amazed as to how piss-poor studies like this pass through the peer review process. Likewise, I think it goes to show just how nutritionally clueless most doctors are.

    In this study, there were a few very large, gaping flaws.

    1) The meat eaters in this study had a larger BMI than those in the veggie group and furthermore, more of them were smokers. In general, it appeared that those within the veggie group had healthier lifestyles.

    2) I’m not yet fully familiar with all the specifics of low-carb diets, but in this study, the carbohydrate intake varied between 30% and 60% of the individuals’ caloric intake.

    3) The individuals’ general diet was assumed by the filling out of questionnaires for one month and the researchers used this information to suggest what their diet was like year round.

    4) No mention of the quality of the foods eaten! Of course, this is a very common oversight in too many studies and I think it is because of the very mechanical “a calorie is a calorie” POV that the USDA promotes. If the animal products were pastured, very different results could have occured. Likewise, I think that it’s important to record the types of plants a vegetarian eats and their quality as well. I could go on for hours about this. This type of poor quality control leads to a lot of confusion and (IMO) misinformation about specific food products.

    Just to be clear, I’m not trying to make any arguments about animal vs veg, just that this study was really, really, bad.. :)

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