While some people give up eating meat to avoid harming animals or protect the environment, others, like me, give up meat and adopt a whole food plant-based lifestyle to heal and prevent inflammatory diseases like Diabetes, Heart Disease, Hypertension, Cancer, and more. There is new data that further reinforces the argument that eating only fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes is optimal for your health.
In the spirit of full disclosure, Dr. Joel Kahn wrote much of this article (including the first 8 reasons). I added some thoughts throughout, including numbers 9 and 10. Here are 10 of the many reasons why you may want to consider never eating meat again.
1. Type 2 Diabetes: In a long-term study from Finland of over 2,000 men followed over 19 years, replacing even 1% of calories from animal proteins with plant proteins lowered the risk of developing diabetes by 18%.
2. Liver disease: A growing health concern is called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD. In an analysis of over 3,000 subjects in the Netherlands, increased dietary proteins from animal sources (meat) were associated with a greater risk (reaching 50% higher) of developing NAFLD.
3. Asthma: In a study of processed red meat consumption and asthma symptoms, eating cured red meat over 4 times a week increased the odds of having worsened asthma by 76%.
4. Colon Cancer: The world was caught off guard in October 2015 when the World Health Organization announced their results of a comprehensive analysis demonstrating that processed red meats like bacon and hot dogs cause colorectal cancer. In a more recent analysis, 400 studies were examined. They found that the risk of colorectal cancer increased by 12% for each 100 gm/day eaten of red and processed meats. Whole grains and vegetables decreased the risk.
5. Depression: In an analysis of 21 studies examining diet and depression, eating red and processed meats increased the risk of depression by over 25% while fruits and vegetables had the opposite relationship.
6. Stomach cancer: Researchers combined 42 studies relating diet to stomach cancer and found that higher intake of red meat increased the risk by 70% while processed red meat increased it by 80% over those that shunned meats.
7. Head and neck cancer: In a study from the Netherlands of over 120,000 subjects followed for over 20 years, consumption of processed red meat was associated with developing cancers of the head and neck. The risk was increased as much as 50% compare to the low or non-meat eaters studied.
8. Gestational diabetes: Developing diabetes during pregnancy, known as gestational diabetes, can complicate pregnancies and have an impact on the health of the offspring. In a recent analysis, the highest red meat consumption of any kind increased the risk of gestational diabetes by over 2 fold. Once again, processed red meat also increased the risk by about double over low meat eaters.
9. Resistance to Antibiotics: The pharmaceutical industry sells 80% of all antibiotics made in the U.S. to animal agriculture. This means that the meat (beef, pork, poultry) you’re eating (unless it’s all farm-raised, organic and marked “antibiotic-free”) can have hundreds of drugs in it. This is causing more people to get MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant staph infection, which as of 2013, killed over 23,000 people.
10. Secondhand Protein: Animals get their protein from plants. Why eat the animal and consume all that saturated fat and antibiotics, when you could go straight to the source? Think of it as eating wholesale – you cut out the middleman while making a positive difference in your health!
Avoiding meat is one of the most important health decisions you can make. Whether meat comes from cows raised on grass or corn, whether you know the farmer or not, meat is an inflammatory food that inherently has a chemical structure that drives reactions in the body that promote cancer growth. Unlike the new data that the more servings of fruit and vegetables you eat, the more likely you will avoid chronic diseases and delay death, eating meat has the opposite result, leading to disease and early death. These new medical observations should keep you on track for a long and healthy life.
Thanks for reading!
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