After years and years of debate as to whether or not meat is a major cause of serious illness including heart disease and cancer, it should come as no surprise that the more meat you consume the more likely you are to develop these life threatening illnesses. When you consider the amounts of hormones and toxic chemicals that are involved in the process of meat preparation we realize that it is bound to cause some problems. It all begins with the fact that animal factory farms use the cheapest feed to fatten the animals, not taking into consideration that what the animals eat is essentially what the human ends up eating. Then we should consider the living conditions on most of these farms which leave no room for the animals to move or develop properly and are forced to live among each other’s feces. So the next time you look at that appetizing juicy hamburger or steak, take a moment to really think about where it came from.
With the amount of meat being consumed in this country each day, it is no surprise that most of us know someone who has or is battling heart disease or cancer. It is pretty obvious when people eat red meat because they typically have a higher BMI (Body Mass Index), are more likely to smoke and are less active physically. So we weren’t surprised when we found a study in an article in the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/health/research/red-meat-linked-to-cancer-and-heart-disease.html?_r=1 that focused on 121,342 men and women over a span of 20+ years. There were 23,926 deaths in the group, more than half of which were related to cardiovascular disease and cancer. The study showed that with each three ounce increase in red meat there was a 12 percent higher risk of dying. That percentage is bad, but what is even worse is, processed meats like bacon with a 20 percent higher risk of dying. The researchers believe that if the people in the study would have eaten half as much meat as they did, women’s deaths would have been decreased by 7.6% and men’s would have decreased by 9.3%. Why people continue to eat meat, or at least the portions they do, is mind boggling, when there are so many healthy alternative proteins like fish, poultry, nuts and legumes. ‘”Red meat can still be eaten as part of a balanced diet, but go for the leaner cuts and use healthier cooking methods such as grilling. If you eat processed meats like bacon, ham, sausages or burgers several times a week, add variation to your diet by substituting these for other protein sources such as fish, poultry, beans or lentils”‘ (Taylor). Cut back on your meat and you just may meet your life expectancy!
Taylor, Victoria. “Eating red meat raises ‘substantially’ risk of cancer or heart disease death.” (2012). http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/mar/12/red-meat-death-heart-cancer