Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Does red meat = Death? (I hope not!)

We all know research, no matter how reputable the source, will always be countered by the opposing side.  Eventually.  This article I found interesting though, like everything, you should take the information with a grain of salt.

An LA Times article yesterday (which I found through a FitFluential tweet) sums up a Harvard study, also published yesterday, which analyzed the diet and health patterns of over 110,000 adults over a 20+ year period.  The results?
Eating red meat — any amount and any type — appears to significantly increase the risk of premature death... Even worse, adding an extra daily serving of processed red meat, such as a hot dog or two slices of bacon, was linked to a 20% higher risk of death during the study.
We all know red meat isn't the best choice, especially of the pre-packaged, processed variety.  Not surprisingly, the article also mentions eating it in moderation.  Duh.

However the article also implied that even in moderation, people should stick to non-red meat.
...[Harvard postdoctoral fellow] Pan said the bottom line was that there was no amount of red meat that's good for you.
What I don't understand is that, if this is the case, why have humans been eating cows and pigs for hundreds of thousands of years?  If these animals were created for consumption, and we're learning they're not good for consumption, what are their purpose on the planet?

We know it's not milk-- humans are the only species that continues to drink milk after nursing, and the only species that consumes the milk of another species.  Kinda weird, if you think about it.

At the end of the article was a blurb about an editorial published with the study that mentions the economical and environmental benefits to a plant-based diet.  This is absolutely true.  I did a bunch of research when I became a vegetarian and learned that the amount of grain and water given to livestock could really solve some global human deficits, which is why it makes me so happy to hear about people participating in Meatless Monday and taking efforts to waste less water.  I came across this infographic from PETA which explains it succinctly.  And no, I'm not advocating anyone become a vegan or join PETA or anything, but they're knowledgeable and tend to make sense (at least to me).

Side note: I'm no longer a vegetarian (I wasn't healthy about it) but I still don't eat that much meat, and I'm not a big fan of processed meats.  Just about my only exception is ballpark hot dogs... I can't resist them at Cubs games, but thankfully they just switched vendors, so I'm looking forward to some Vienna Beef all season =)  I'm also not a vegan, nor do I buy vegan products, but I do have some serious internal struggle because of it-- I love Coach bags and Ugg boots, but I wish they were faux... And I'd love to give up meat & dairy altogether but the vegan alternatives are just so expensive and without them I'm personally unable to have a healthy vegan diet. Like I said, internal struggle. UGH!!

I'm pretty sure most of us already eat small to moderate amounts of red meat.  Chinese Beef with Green Beans once a month is usually the only red meat I consume, though with Cubs season and grilling season coming up, that may increase a little bit.  But frankly, I just think chicken is way easier to cook!

What are your thoughts on red meat?  Do you eat it or avoid it?

Have a great Tuesday =)

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