Care about your health? Here are the top 10 health concerns linked to meat consumption.
1. Heart Disease
Completed in 2013, an 11-year study of 45,000 volunteers found that a vegetarian diet could cut one's risk of heart disease by as much as 32 percent. Lead researcher Francesca Crowe of the University of Oxford theorizes that this lowered risk is due to lower cholesterol and blood pressure in vegetarians. Go plants!
In 2015, the World Health Organization placed processed meats like bacon in the same category of cancer risk as asbestos and smoking cigarettes. Past studies corroborate the correlation between meat consumption and an increased risk of cancer. In fact, one study found that compared to women who ate one serving of red meat a week, women who ate 1.5 servings of red meat a day had a 22 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer. Just say no to meat!
Because meat causes blockages in blood vessels, it’s no surprise that it leads to strokes. Consumption of red meat in particular has been reported to increase the risk of an ischemic stroke by 47 percent. Have a clear mind and eat plants.
According to researchers, meat is "one of the most well-established dietary risk factors" for diabetes. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that even modest consumption of red or processed meat significantly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes — an illness that can cause debilitating health problems, including blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, and strokes. Yikes!
A University of Adelaide doctoral student found that meat contributes to obesity prevalence worldwide to the same extent as sugar. The research found that meat protein is digested later than fats and carbohydrates, making the energy we receive from protein a surplus. This surplus is converted and stored as fat in the human body. The study attributes nearly 13 percent of the obesity rate to the availability of meat.
6. Harmful Cholesterol
Harmful cholesterol can lead to clogged arteries and heart disease, but since it’s only found in animal-based foods, a vegan diet contains zero cholesterol. Stick with the plants!
Milk consumption and acne has been the focus of several studies. Interestingly, the strongest association is with skim milk. The authors of the studies have different theories as to why milk increases acne. Some suggest that because most milk consumed in the United States comes from pregnant cows, the pregnancy hormones increase oil production, leading to acne. Others suspect that milk itself elicits an increase in insulin, as do the high glycemic foods, leading to oil production and acne. Regardless, it’s clear that the key to clearer skin is a plant-based diet!
8. Erectile Dysfunction
Numerous studies have found that meat consumption leads to heart disease and high blood pressure. These conditions not only reduce blood flow to the heart and brain, possibly resulting in heart attacks and strokes, but also decrease blood flow throughout the body, including to the penis and clitoris. Without blood flow to these areas, erection and arousal are stunted. There’s nothing sexy about eating meat.
9. Alzheimer's Disease
Researchers at the Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center found that a Western diet heavy in animal proteins significantly increases one’s odds of developing Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Simon Ridley, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said that studies have linked plant-based diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and nuts to better cognitive health.
10. Shorter Lifespan
You read that right! Researchers at the Mayo Clinic reviewed multiple studies and found that compared to shorter-term vegetarians, people on a vegetarian diet for more than 17 years enjoyed an increase in life expectancy of 3.6 years. They concluded that “physicians should advise patients to limit animal products when possible and consume more plants than meat.”
In addition to harming our health, meat is literally killing our planet and causing unthinkable animal suffering.
Visit ChooseVeg.com to learn more about transitioning to a healthy, delicious, and humane vegan diet.