The meat controversy has been raging for years, with opposing views saying that meat increases health problems and the Atkins diet encouraging endless steaks but limiting intake of blueberries.
But what is the truth?
And why does the meat debate get as heated as a sizzling beef fillet?
The problem for many meat eaters is that they are so used to defending their dietary choices to new vegetarian friends and relatives that they respond defensively as soon as meat is criticised for leading to health problems.
When this is added to the fact that most vegetarians don’t make that choice for supposed health benefits, but for moral reasons, it’s clear that this is an emotional subject for all parties.
But it’s one that needs addressing.
The fact is, as a meat-eater, you are twice as likely to visit the doctor as a vegetarian. You’re also twice as likely to be admitted to hospital.
Many meat eaters, when presented with this information, explain how they could never cut meat from their diets, and how other animals were actually placed on Earth for us to eat.
Well… I’m not here to debate who should be eating who…
And I’m certainly not in the business of lecturing to anyone who doesn’t want to change what they’re doing.
But if you’re a meat eater, you need to at least have the knowledge to make an informed choice.
Knowledge like this:
Your risk of heart disease and cancer – especially stomach and colon cancer – is directly related to how much meat you eat.
Your digestive health is also related to your meat consumption, with a high meat intake being linked to incidences of diverticulitis, colitis and appendicitis.
So, if this is the case, why do so many people believe meat is an important part of their diet?
Well, it comes back to the misinformation that people have been fed for years by media sources. In this case, the misinformation relates to protein.
Diets like The Atkins Diet recommend HIGH PROTEIN intake, with a strong focus on meat as the primary source of this protein.
The High Protein Myth is, in my opinion, one of the big contributors to the increase in heart disease and cancer… and it’s something you should be wary of when making food choices.
You are actually in more danger of eating too much protein than not enough!
While protein is an important part of your diet, foods that are rich in protein produce an acid when metabolised. This acid, when lots of high protein foods are eaten, can dramatically change the blood’s acid pH, which the body cannot tolerate. To neutralize this, the body is forced to use one of two alkalines – sodium or calcium. When the body reserves of sodium have been used up, calcium is taken from the body.
So, the more protein you eat… the more calcium your body loses.
This is bad news for bones, and contributes to osteoporosis, a disease that is reaching epidemic level.
What can you do to protect yourself?
The best thing you can take is to begin focusing on quality of meat over quantity. For a while, chicken has been described by many as the best meat choice, but this is actually not true. When you eat meat, have the highest quality meat you can possibly afford. Avoid meat products like complex burgers and sausages and choose, instead, organic steaks.
And a final tip: while fish will provide you with essential omega fats, it’s important to remember the state of the waters that our supply of fish live in. The fish we are eating contain traces of pollutants, chemicals, and antibiotics. Limit your fish intake to twice weekly.