Is meat Healthy? It seems that this subject is one of the hottest topics in Health and Fitness. We see meat eaters and vegetarians lining up, each trying to prove they are right.
So, who’s right?
I’ll keep it simple, BOTH sides are!
Let me explain;
Americans average about 200lbs of meat per person per year. Eating 200 pounds of meat per year is unnecessary for health. Plus, we can’t sustain this level of consumption. We don’t have enough land, time, or money. There are various ethical and environmental reasons to limit meat consumption. These include how/where the animal is raised, what it’s fed, how it’s killed, and if we can supply enough to feed 7+ billion people.
Most of the meat found at grocery stores is from an AFO (animal feeding operation). AFOs are factory farms, with “factory” not “farms” being the operative word. AFOs congregate animals, feed, waste, and production operations to a small area. AFOs are highly mechanized and supply meat year round for an inexpensive price. AFOs use only a single type of animal that has been genetically modified or bred to grow rapidly and produce the maximum amount of meat possible in a short time.
AFOs do not breed for flavor nor animal health.
In nature, animals exist for their own reasons, not just for our use. In AFOs, animals are brought into the world solely to be used for food.
Factory farmed meat is a four-time-loser. It’s bad for us, bad for the planet, bad for the animal, and bad for the farmer.
Vegans and vegetarians make a great point when they talk about what’s written above. Not only for ethical reasons, but in AFO meats, we see a lot more hormones, environmental pollutants, and antibiotics. which isn’t good since we probably absorb a small amount of these chemicals.
However, humans evolved as omnivores so meat isn’t suddenly killing us.
The health issue is from the type of meat, how the animals were raised, and how much meat we eat.
Yes, there is a relationship between eating certain types of meat and cancer risk.
But, we can minimize these risks.
- Most of our diet (80%) should be plant based. Many meat eaters displace veggies and other healthy foods for meat. If you eat meat, include plenty of high fiber foods, fruits, veggies, and more!
- Avoid the most problematic meats: deli meats, lunch meats, canned meats, and jerky.
- Try to limit grilled (blackened or charred) meat and red meat to 1-2x per week.
- If you eat meat, stick with hormone-free, naturally raised meat. Grass-fed is probably the best. Try to buy from a local farmer if you can!
So no, meat won’t kill you and can be part of a healthy diet. But those that eat meat can learn some important things from vegans and vegetarians….such as: most of our diet should be plant based, we should care about how the animals are raised/treated, and how the production of meat affects our environment.
I encourage you to experiment. If you feel better abstaining from meat, do it! If you don’t, eat some meat and follow the guidelines from this article.
At McNair Health and Fitness, we help our clients feel and look their very best no matter the diet they want to follow. We currently work with clients that are vegan, gluten free, dairy free, and have other food allergies. Our plans are created specifically for you! Schedule a call via the buttons on our home page to get started today!
Sources: “All About Meat” by Ryan Andrews. “The Meat Debate: Good For Us Or Disease Waiting To Happen?” by John Berardi