Men in the United States eat way too much meat. In fact, according to the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, they consume 57 percent more animal protein than women do. This statistic is frightening for a number of reasons.
You see, men have a long and complicated relationship with meat, from falsely believing they need animal protein to be healthy to feeling like they need it to be masculine. These notions are not only mistaken, but dangerous.
The meat industry perpetuates these unfortunate perceptions, spending billions of dollars annually on marketing and advertising that appeal to men, from oversexualized print ads to commercials that have men chanting, “Go meat!”
But meat isn’t making men strong; it’s making them sick.
Meat consumption is linked to many of today’s top killers, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. In fact, researchers at Loma Linda University discovered that vegetarians have a 53 percent reduced risk for diabetes, and an 11-year British study of 45,000 volunteers found that a vegetarian diet can cut one's risk of heart disease by as much as 32 percent. This may be why men are more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease than women in America.
To address this issue, the U.S. dietary guidelines state:
Some individuals, especially teen boys and adult men, also need to reduce overall intake of protein foods by decreasing intakes of meats, poultry, and eggs and increasing amounts of vegetables or other under-consumed food groups.
Thankfully, switching to a plant-based diet has never been easier. And from MMA fighters and NFL players to Olympic-winning weightlifters, many men are starting to get it. Even a recent Men’s Journal piece shows how you can get “ripped” with exercise and a nutritious plant-based diet.
Gentlemen, the writing is on the wall: It’s time we started doing what’s right for our health, our planet, and animals by adopting a plant-based diet.
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