Its Monday! How about making it a Meatless Monday?
Protein is in. Its hard to not know that. Everywhere you look there are more products popping up with protein: bars, shakes, beverages...even candy!
After years of hearing we should limit meat consumption, all of a sudden huge slabs of animal protein seem to be back on the menu. Carbs have now been deemed the diet and health enemy and things like bacon now have a health halo. Hello? WTF?
So, are you wondering what the deal is? Is it better to be vegetarian? Vegan? Eat poultry and fish? Or is red meat actually the answer to all your health problems?
Sorry, folks, put down the steak and listen up! High intake of red meat is not a good thing!!! I am also sorry to say that it matters little if the meat is anti-biotic free, grass-fed, blah, blah, blah.
Sure, you heard the headlines recently that not all studies find a link between heart disease, stroke and red meat consumption, but you have to dig a bit deeper. It is important what you are comparing. The BAD (Basic American Diet) not only contains too much red meat, but also too much refined sugar and starch, which also increases heart disease risk. Studies that compare red meat consumption to consumption of alternative protein sources in overall healthy diets do consistently find higher risk of mortality, cardiovascular disease and diabetes among the red meat eaters.
Beyond that, there is a strong link between red meat consumption and some cancers. Regardless of how organic, local, grass-fed the meat is, cooking red meats creates carcinogens. The iron in red meat can also raise the risk of diabetes. A 28-year longitudinal study found that those who ate 2 servings of red meat a day were almost 37% more likely to die than those who ate 2 servings per week or less. That's pretty significant!!
Here's the other thing people forget: Eating animals, particularly cows, and pigs too, is HORRIBLE for the environment!!
For your health, the best sources of protein (from best to worst) are:
1. Plant sources (beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, vegetables)
2. Poultry and fish
3. Dairy & eggs
4. Red meat
Environmental impact from best to worst is:
2. Dairy & eggs
3. Poultry & fish
4. Red meat
So please, for the love of your body and for our planet, carefully consider your protein choices!!
Info is based on the Nutrition Action Healthletter's October issue.