Health advocates, who know better, have been trying to inform the public the dangers of meat consumption, especially red meat. A book entitled “The China Study”, which correlates the development of many diseases, has been long since published but was chosen by many to be categorized as “debatable”. Now that the Medical School of Harvard has done a 28-year study on red meat, there’s no way of denying of the scary truth anymore.
It can be said that 10% of deaths can be blamed on red meat consumption. An evaluation by the Medical School of Harvard monitored more than 121,000 of people to prove that. From 1986 to 2008, a total of 37, 698 men had their diets monitored. A total of 83, 644 women had their diets monitored too from 1980 to 2008. These men and women had neither cardiovascular diseases nor cancer at the beginning of the study as the baseline data. Their diet was monitored and assessed through a validated questionnaire and updated once every 4 years.
For those individuals who had 3 ounce of red meat included in their daily diet, the data indicated that 10% are at risk of dying from cancer, 18% were at risk of cardiovascular ailment, and 13% were at risk of simply dying early. It is also found out that 4 ounces of meat a day greatly increase the risk of having a diabetes by 20%. Furthermore, if halving the consumption of red meat could reduce the risk of developing degenerative disease by 8.4%, what more can it do if red meat totally eliminated from the diet? And these data are just for the unprocessed meat alone.
And now for the processed red meat. Those who had an additional serving of processed meat like hotdogs and bacon daily were 16 % at risk of cancer, 21% were at risk from cardiovascular ailments and another 20% were at risk of simply dying too early.
Red Meat and Heart Disease
By definition, a meat is classified red when its color is such when uncooked and it does not turn white after cooking (like chicken). Most adult mammals produce red meat. Some fowls like duck is also considered red meat.
Red meat is very high in cholesterol and saturated fat. Cholesterol consumption can altogether be eliminated from the diet if one wishes so. Humans need not consume cholesterol from their food because their body is capable of producing all the cholesterol that their body needs every day.
Aside from that fact, cholesterol, the human body recycles about 50% of its cholesterol. Of the 1000 mg of cholesterol produced every day, the ideal cholesterol that should come from the diet should be limited to 200 mg. If you take a look at a 3 ounce serving of red meat, it usually contains around 100 mg of cholesterol. Most steak serving is usually 6 ounces, which already gives a person the 200 mg of ideal maximum cholesterol intake. This one meal leaves no room for additional cholesterol-laden meal for the rest of the day, which is of course almost impossible for most people.
Saturated fats on the other hand, are widely known as the bad fat. Saturated fat increases the production of excess cholesterol in the blood. A combination of saturated fats and cholesterol is the perfect formula for increasing the chances of plaque in the blood vessel that can lead to the development of a heart disease.
Red Meat and Cancer
Red meat has myoglobin and haemoglobin molecules. These molecules cause the gut to undergo a process called nitrosation. Nitrosation can cause the body to produce carcinogens. Carcinogenic compounds (specifically referred to as heterocyclic amines) are also produced beforehand when red meat is cooked.
Studies has found that consumption of red meat is correlated to developing different types of cancer such as colorectal cancer, lung cancer, oesophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer and endometrial cancer. Stomach cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and lymphoma were also found to be correlated to red meat consumption. A study in 2011 with 500,000 participants proved that red meat in the diet increased the risk of developing kidney cancer by 19%.
Red Meat and Diabetes
Ice cream and sodas are not the only food to watch out when staying away from diabetes. Regular consumption of red meat, whether processed or not, escalates chances of getting type II diabetes. A tiny pork chop or that tasty medium burger a day increases the risk by 12%. Bacon and hotdogs increases the risk by 32%.
How to Eliminate Red Meat in the Diet
Most people are worried if they would be consuming enough protein if they eliminate red meat in their diet. Another question would be: will they still be meeting their dietary needs? The answer to these questions is: yes, and yes.
With alkaline diet which are plant-source, you are assured of proteins that are just as good, if not better than red meat protein. Why should we kiss red meat goodbye? A succinct argument would be: red meat works against the body’s natural inclination. Here are a few things to remember when you have a craving for red meat.
- The human body is slightly alkaline while red meat is acid-producing. For the body to function optimally, foods that are alkaline-forming are the best to eat. Acid-forming foods not only militates against the body’s natural make-up, it also robs the body of important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, calcium, and potassium. No wonder lots of women are developing osteoporosis!
- Farm animals like cows are given 30 times of the antibiotics that a normal person is usually given. The reason is not preventing infection but to promote growth while feeding them less. In other words, eating red meat is like taking a dose of an antibiotics thirty times your dose. And you’re not even sick of something yet.
- The iron from animal is more absorbable than from plants. At first glance, this seems like an advantage of an animal-based diet. However, too much iron promotes bacterial growth and is a catalyst of the production of free radical. It can lead to cancer, heart disease, infertility, and liver cirrhosis. Iron also interferes with the absorption of zinc which is essential for brain development of babies.
- Red meat has no fiber. If you think that colon may take a long time to develop anyway, think bowel movement as torture with red meat. With plant-based food which is rich in fiber, bowel movement is easier.
- Animal foods like red meat are steeped with sodium. This causes the blood to hold water instead of being utilized to hydrate other cells of the body. This can account for a high blood pressure of meat-eating people and poor skin quality.