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Why You Should Cut Back On Your Red Meat Intake

    Red meat is derived from adult mammals. This type of beef looks reddish before cooked, including mutton, lamb, pork, horse, beef, veal, and goat. 

    If you are deciding to cut back on consuming red meat for specific health reasons, it would highly depend on the amount of meat you are currently consuming. Many nutritionists have recommended that individuals consume up to 2-3 palm-size portions of unprocessed locally produced fresh red meat in a week. If an individual is consuming more than that, then he/she should consider cutting back for primary health reasons. However, many are cutting back on their consumption because of personal beliefs and environmental causes. 


    Should You Cut Back On Eating Red Meat?

    There are numerous reasons you should cut down on the consumption of red meat in your daily diet, only if you are eating it in an adequate amount. In replacement for red meat, you can start consuming vegetarian and vegan food that contains the same amount of iron and protein as red meat.

    Listed below are a few health and environmental reasons why it would be best to stop consuming red meat in a large amount.


    A Decrease in the Risk of Heart Disease

    Compared to other food items, red meat contains high cholesterol, cholesterol is a type of fat found in our blood, and white meat; is present in saturated fat ( like Turkey and chicken). Saturated fat and Cholesterol level can cause a rise in blood cholesterol, which can cause developing heart diseases. The human body releases a compound named Trimethylamine N-Oxide(TMAO) while digesting red meat; when the level of TMAO rises in the body, the chances for blood clots to occur in our arteries, which can cause significant heart attacks and strokes. 


    A Decrease in the Risk of Cancer

    The chances of developing cancer by consuming red and processed meat are only for those who consume more than the recommended amount. Red meat has been categorized as a level 2a carcinogen by The World Health Organization, which can cause cancer. The classification of red meat was based on “limited evidence” and focused on individuals who have developed colon cancer by consuming red meat.

    Apart from classifying red meat as a level 2a carcinogen, The World Health Organization has also classified red or processed meat in Group 1, which means it can cause cancer. This classification was made based on studies related to relationships between colon cancer and red or processed meat. 

    Like red meat, tobacco has also been classified in Group 1, but that doesn’t make processed meat as dangerous as smoking tobacco. The grouping is based on scientific evidence which states the strength of processed meat and tobacco to cause cancer. As there is only limited scientific evidence available, colon cancer is considered cancer that is probably caused by consuming red meat in excessive amounts, which can also be followed by prostate and pancreatic cancer. Red meat produces a chemical compound called Carcinogenic chemicals when cooked like barbeque meat cooked on the outside. If red meat is eaten in this form in excessive amounts, then the risk of developing cancer in a person is comparatively higher.  


    A Decrease in the Risk of Obesity

    Studies have shown that if red meat is consumed more than 5 ounces in a day can be associated with specific health issues like obesity (27% chances) and central obesity (37% chances). Central obesity is a type of obesity in which individuals gain excessive fat around their abdomen and stomach region. If you are consuming more than the recommended amount of processed meat in a week, then cutting down on its consumption can decrease the risk of obesity. 


    Environmental benefits of cutting down on eating red meat


    A Decrease in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    Greenhouse gas emissions are when the level of CO2 rises in the earth’s atmosphere. The carbon dioxide level in the earth’s atmosphere can directly affect the climate and lead to climate change, which can cause real damage to humans, animals, and plants. Studies have shown that about 1/3 of greenhouse gases in Ireland are emitted because of agricultural activities, and almost half of this is because of cows. Many cultivating staples are responsible for producing about 11 times more greenhouse gases like rice, wheat, and potatoes. The reason why greenhouse gas emissions are high in Ireland and other world countries is the number of cows in Ireland. While belching, cows emit a greenhouse gas called Methane, which can trap heat from the atmosphere.  


    Decrease in Deforestation

    Every year about thousands of square kilometers of trees and forests were destroyed for human needs and benefits. This forest land was majorly converted into grazing pastures, a land where cattle are fed. Deforestation has harmed the environment, as trees are the primary source of absorbing CO2 and further converting it into oxygen. When forests are cut down, the CO2 emissions get released in a high amount into the atmosphere, which leads to greenhouse gases. If people avoid keeping excess animal livestock, then less land would be required for grazing, helping maintain the earth’s atmosphere by reducing CO2 emissions. Compared to the cultivation of significant food like wheat, rice, and potatoes, grazing and keeping animal livestock requires more land. Studies have shown that 26% of ice-free land is used for grazing cattle. If you have decided to consume less or completely cut down on red or processed meat from your daily diet, you can buy yourself food that is sourced locally and are substantially produced. 


    Substituting Healthy Proteins

    This article points out the significant disadvantages of consuming red meat in an excessive amount than recommended. There are many healthy and beneficial substitutes if red or processed meat contains equal amounts of protein, such as poultry, fish, nuts, low-fat dairy products, legumes, and whole grains.