5 good reasons to reduce your consumption of meat

Reducing meat consumption is beneficial in more ways than one. Whether it’s for health issues or out of moral principles, vegetarianism among younger people is on the rise. In the United States, it is estimated that 7.3 million people are vegetarians and 22.8 million more follow a diet closed to vegetarianism, according to Vegetarian Times.

Although these figures are still measly compared to the American general population, the fact of not eating meat or fish is nothing strange anymore. It’s also not a complicated matter either. The supply of veggies has exploded in recent years, both in supermarkets and restaurants. This growing trend is also not about to stop anytime soon since among 16-25 year olds, 50 percent of young people are willing to reduce their consumption of meat.

The reasons to stop eating meat are not lacking either: love of animals, the planet (concerns about deforestation and GMO agriculture to feed the animals, etc), but also, most importantly perhaps, health. Many studies show that the more meat you eat, the more likely you are to be affected by overweight and obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases or cancer. Below you will find the 5 most important reasons to decrease meat consumption.

To reduce inflammation

Meat contains certain elements (saturated fatty acids, omega-6, iron) that are pro-inflammatory. Indeed, inflammation is the incubator of many diseases (overweight and obesity, diabetes, cancer…).

High temperature cooking aggravates this problem. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified red meat as “probably carcinogenic”. Conversely, plants contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that protect our cells.

To consume more fibers

While health authorities advise to eat 30 g of fiber per day, we consume an average of 20 g. Yet, fibers have many assets that beneficial to our overall health. They lower the glycemic index of the meal, cause a long satiety and avoid nibbling. They also feed the good microbiota bacteria that regulate weight. Finally, they lower the level of sugar and cholesterol in the blood. They are found only in vegetables, hence the interest of eating less meat and more lentils, quinoa, and nuts.

To reduce toxins

Meats are particularly rich in purines, toxic molecules that foul and acidify the body. 100 g of beef provide 1500 mg of purines to the body, 100 g of fish 150 mg and 100 g of carrots only 5 mg.

A too acidic organism works in slow motion, the liver and the kidneys, responsible for eliminating the toxins, can no longer fulfill their mission correctly.

A diet too rich in purines and saturated fats, coupled with a lack of physical activity, promotes abdominal fat, but it is both the most difficult to destock and the most deleterious to health.

To improve your microbiota

Meat consumption promotes the development of bad bacteria in the microbiota. The latter however is involved in a very large number of functions of the body: digestion and immunity, but also the control of weight by acting on appetite and the capture of calories.

Prebiotics, specific fibers found in fruits, vegetables, grains and seeds of all kinds, favor the proliferation of good bacteria.

To save for high quality meat…

Before the industrial farming boom, little meat was consumed on a daily basis because it was scarce and expensive. Today, we have the choice between cheap meat (raised in bad conditions, treated with antibiotics, fed on GM soybeans, etc.) and quality meat (animals raised outdoors, on small farms, without systematic treatment, with organic food …), which has a high cost. Better to have a steak a week, but a good one!

Summary

  1. To reduce inflammation
  2. To consume more fibers
  3. To reduce toxins
  4. To improve your microbiota
  5. To save for better quality meat
Angie Mahecha

Angie Mahecha, an Engineering Student at the University of Central Florida, is originally from Colombia but has been living in Florida for the past 10 Years.