You might have already heard that eating meat can be unhealthy for you. The World Health Organization made headlines in 2015 when the organization referred to processed meat as a “carcinogen.” According to the WHO, processed meat can greatly increase a person’s risk of acquiring colon or rectum cancer by a staggering 18 percent. However, science has already proven that eating all kinds of animals can be detrimental to a person’s health. It is said that even “white meat” can be bad for you.
Most people have this misconception that consuming a little organic meat is safe. Well, not so much. While reducing the amount of meat that you eat is a great way of starting a healthy lifestyle, the fact remains that consuming any type of meat can have an adverse effect on your body in the long run. Knowing exactly the health risks of consuming too much meat can help you make an informed decision about the way you consume meat as part of your diet.
Here are the eight reasons why eating meat is not good for your health.
1. It Can Increase the Risk of Cancer
Many of us have seen the story last 2015 when the World Health Organization deemed processed meat as a “carcinogen.” According to WHO, processed meat can increase a person’s risk of acquiring colon or rectum cancer. A multitude of studies conducted by top independent researchers and universities revealed that consuming excessive amounts of chicken, cow or any other animal meat can promote different types of cancer. Studies conducted in England and Germany showed that people who are on a vegetarian diet are 40 percent less likely susceptible to cancer compared to meat-eaters. According to a Harvard Study in 2014, a serving of red meat a day during adolescent years can result in a 22 percent higher risk of acquiring pre-menopausal breast cancer. The same can also be said to adults who eat red meat are 13 percent more likely to get breast cancer.
A few hypotheses have explained with meat consumption can result in cancer. First, meats do not come with fibers and others nutrients that help protect you against cancer. Meat also comes with saturated fat and animal protein. In some cases, carcinogenic compounds like heterocyclic amines or HCA and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAH can also be found in many types of meat. These compounds are formed during the processing or cooking of the meat.
2. It can Cause Diabetes and Heart Disease
Bill Clinton went vegan for this very reason. Dairy products, eggs, and meat are rich in cholesterol and saturated fat. These foods can cause diabetes, heart attack, strokes, and different types of cancer. These diseases have been the major culprits for many deaths in the US. According to decades of research by scientific institutions, it shows nearly 2,200 Americans die every day due to cardiovascular diseases from dietary cholesterol. Saturated fat can be found in all types of meat and fish. Even with the skin removed, chicken and turkey are still rich in saturated fat.
Moreover, the American Diabetes Association also published a study looking at the correlation of eating meat to diabetes. According to their findings, people who consume large amounts of animal protein are 22 percent more likely to acquire diabetes. Aside from dreaded diabetes, eating meat can also cause mental disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The steady cognitive decline among adults can be attributed to the consumption of saturated fat. There are also other plant-based protein sources that do not trigger your cholesterol levels since they are low in saturated fat.
3. Excessive Meat Consumption Can Lead to Weight Problems
Of course, “a healthy body weight” is something that is best defined by the person’s perspective on his weight. However, it does not necessarily mean you need to live a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle just to attain your ideal weight. Getting a lower BMI is something you cannot achieve if you are living on a meat diet. According to some studies, people who rely on a meat-laden diet are more likely to be obese than vegetarians and vegans. On average, adult meat-eaters are 10 to 29 pounds heavier than those on a vegan diet. On the other hand, vegetarians have a 16 percent faster metabolic rate than meat-eaters.
4. Meat is Associated with Foodborne Diseases
A report published by the US Department of Agriculture or USDA shows that almost 70 percent of food poisoning cases in the country is caused by contaminated animal meat. Some of the most common foodborne diseases include Campylobacter, E. Coli, and Salmonella. These 3 foodborne diseases account for 76 million illnesses and 325,000 hospitalizations each year. More than 5,000 people, however, succumbed to these diseases.
Eating animal meat can put you at risk of acquiring food poisoning since animal products are usually contaminated with fecal matter during slaughter or processing, especially among chickens. As revealed by a Consumer Reports study, 97 percent of the raw chicken sold in the US market is tainted with bacteria. Eliminating meat from your daily diet will reduce your risk of being exposed to these harmful bacteria.
5. Meat Consumption Can Lead to Erectile Dysfunction
Animal products like dairy, eggs, and meat can hinder the natural blood flow to all your organs. Originally, anxiety was considered the primary culprit in many cases of impotence. However, that is not always the case as the Erectile Dysfunction Institute states that 90 percent of cases of impotence are not psychological related, but physical. This means that diabetes, high cholesterol level, obesity and prostate cancer can also lead to impotence. All of these physical conditions can be triggered by eating meat.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also published a study that suggests men who couple healthy flavonoid-rich diet with regular exercise can lower the risk of having impotence problems by over 20 percent. Flavonoid is something that can be found in fruits such as apples, blueberries, and strawberries. Many nutritionists and physicians also believe that the best way of preventing erectile dysfunction is to eat a diet rich in fiber. Adding fruits, whole grains, and vegetables to your diet can do wonders to your health.
6. Most Meats Are Rich in Hormones
It has been a common practice among breeders in the cattle industry to feed their cows with hormone pellets. While some foods contain low levels of hormones, many scientists are alarmed by the fact that hormone injection has become a norm in the cattle industry. These hormones can pose a serious threat among meat-eaters. Consuming organic meat also does not help since you can still ingest the hormones naturally produced by the animals when they were slaughtered. Without a hormone injection, an animal can still have their natural sex hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. You are still eating a type of hormone which can affect your health in the long run.
7. Eating Meat Makes Your Body Resist Antibiotics
Supergerms is an antibiotic-resistance bacteria found in many factory farms. It has become a norm among breeders in America to use antibiotics in growing animals. The antibiotics previously meant for humans now help farm animals to survive in harsh living conditions that would otherwise kill them. As a result, there are new strains of antibiotic-resistance bacteria developed in the past years.
Approximately 70 percent of antibiotics used in the US are injected to poultry animals which are soon to be sold as meat to consumers. Vancomycin is the most common drug used in many animals due to its strong defense against staphylococcus bacteria and other deadly blood infections. Ingesting this can make yourself antibiotic-resistant.
8. Eating Meat Can Result to Death
Due to the reasons stated above, meat-eaters do not live as long as vegans and vegetarians. According to the journal published by JAMA Internal Medicine, a study of over 70,000 revealed that those who are on a vegetarian diet are 12 percent less likely to have died on a span of six years compared to their meat-eating peers. Vegetarian men have an average lifespan of 83.3 years while their meat-eating counterparts only live to an average of 73.8 years. The same can also be said to vegetarian women as they can live as long as 85.7 years, which is 6.1 years longer than women who are fond of eating meat. If you are looking to live longer, cutting out meat from your diet is the best way to go.
The bottom-line is that you either reduce your meat consumption or cut it out altogether. Shifting to a non-meat diet can help you curb the destruction of the environment and conserve animal life.