Debunking Food Myths. Chapter Two: Meat

MEAT IS GREAT!

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We need it to get enough of our daily protein, it provides us with nutrients and it is basically natures perfect food for us…history of mankind has proven that we have always been an omnivore. And because it’s so good for us, we have to make sure it is included in our daily diet…and yes, most of us consume a lot of it.

IS IT REALLY THE PERFECT FOOD FOR US???

Why is it that the number one leading cause of death in the western countries is heart disease? followed closely by killer number two, cancer?

How come worldwide obesity has nearly doubled since 1980?

How come diabetes is on such a rapid rise, making it the 7th leading cause of death?

How come we have an epidemic of overweight 6 months olds in the United States (other countries are rapidly catching up)?

How come that today more people die from being overweight than from starvation?

Why are number two and number three on the list of the most prescribed drugs in the US a cholesterol-lowering statin drug (94.1 million prescriptions a year) and a blood pressure lowering drug (87.4 million prescriptions a year)?

LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT’S GOING ON

Meat is made of water, protein, saturated fats, dietary cholesterol, steroids, hormones, and antibiotics.

Protein is considered the superhero of macronutrients because of its crucial role in structural and functional mechanisms of our bodies. However, because it is vital to our health doesn’t mean that more is better. We seem to be obsessed these days with consuming enough of it, although research shows that we only require about 10% of our daily calories to come from protein. A growing body of evidence also points towards the fact that consumption of more that 10% dietary animal protein can promote cancer growth.

Women who consume a diet rich in animal- based foods, with a reduced amount of plant- based foods, have higher levels of female hormones throughout their lifetime, which puts them at an increased risk of developing breast cancer (read more on http://nutritionstudies.org/breast-cancer-cholesterol-reductionism/). Furthermore, consuming excessive amounts of protein puts a lot of stress on the kidneys, which metabolite protein and break down the nitrogenous waste. Overworking the kidneys which large quantities of protein can lead to kidney stones and other, more serious diseases.

WHAT ABOUT FATS IN MEAT? 

Mounting evidence shows that the amount of fat consumed is not as important as the source of that fat. Fats derived from whole- plant foods are either enthral or health protective; saturated fats found in animal products are known to raise blood cholesterol and promote heart disease. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that naturally occurs in all parts of our body and the small amounts that we need are produced by the liver. Hence, it is not necessary to consume any other cholesterol from you diet. Because only a liver can produce it, only animal- based foods contain cholesterol. High cholesterol in the bloodstream leads to atherosclerosis, which generates the symptoms and signs of cardiovascular disease. Studies have also found that as blood cholesterol decreased from 170mg/dL to 90mg/dL, cancers of the liver, rectum, colon, lung, breast, child and adult leukaemia, brain, stomach and oesophagus decreased (see references in the “China Study” by T.Colin Campbell).  Most people know that, if you have high cholesterol, you should worry about your heart, but they don’t know that you might also want to worry about cancer.

Almost all beef cattle entering feedlots in the United States are given hormones to promote faster growth. Today, there are six anabolic steroids given, in various combinations, to nearly all animals entering conventional beef feedlots in the U.S. and Canada.  Questions and controversy over the impacts of these added hormones on human development and health have led the European Union to ban the use of all hormone growth promoters (see more on http://nutritionfacts.org/video/anabolic-steroids-in-meat/).

Animals in confined feedlots are given vast amounts of antibiotics to prevent sickness, promote faster growth and boost profits. Not only does antibiotics enter the human body by eating the meat, the antibiotics also get into the environment via soil and water, often from animal waste that is either stored or spread on fields. This poses a serious risk to public and environmental health, primarily because it contributes to antibiotic resistance in pathogens that cause illness in people (read more on http://www.ewg.org/meateatersguide/a-meat-eaters-guide-to-climate-change-health-what-you-eat-matters/other-meat-concerns-antibiotics-hormones-and-toxins/).

IT’S ALSO ABOUT WHAT’S MISSING IN MEAT!

Meat, dairy, eggs, fish or other animal- derived foods do not contain any fiber. Fiber keeps things moving… The health benefits of dietary fibre go far beyond digestive health. Eating adequate amounts of finer helps control rates of digestion, sugar absorption, removes heavy metals and excess sex hormones, enhances weight loss and prevents colorectal cancer.

IS THERE ANYTHING GOOD IN MEAT?

Meat contains the essential nutrient Vitamin B12, which is produced by bacteria in the gut of most animals. SO, If you are consuming an animal free diet, make sure to substitute it. Meat is also rich in iron, whose most important role is to transport oxygen. However, Iron is also found in abundance in the plant world and a plant- based diet tends to provide more iron than other diets. (p45). Meat also provides selenium and zinc, which AGAIN can also be found in plants.

MEAT IS PART OF OUR DIETARY CULTURE

It is part of our culture? Smoking was “part of our culture” and it sure is not healthy. Well, we changed our attitude towards smoking and consecutively changed our policies.  Anybody missing the “smoking”  part of our culture? I think most of us don’t. And let’s not forget meat has only recently become an indispensable part of our daily diet. Most of you remember that your parents or grandparents probably had meat only once a week- non mass produced meat.

Cheers,

Ursula

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