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BENEFITS OF EATING MEAT

BENEFITS OF EATING MEAT

1. We Have Been Designed by Evolution to Eat Meat and Other Animal Foods

Throughout evolution, humans and pre-humans have been eating meat (1, 2).

Our digestive systems are well equipped to make full use of the healthy fats, proteins and nutrients found in animal foods.

 

2. Meat is Incredibly Nutritious

High quality, unprocessed meat is among the most nutritious foods in the world.

A 100 gram portion (3.5 ounces) of raw ground beef contains large amounts of Vitamin B12, B3 (Niacin), B6, Iron, Zinc, Selenium and plenty of other vitamins and minerals (5).

Vitamin B12 is particularly important because it can not be gotten in ANY amount from plants. Studies show that out of vegans who don’t supplement with B12, 92% are deficient in this critical nutrient (6).

Unprocessed meat is also loaded with healthy fats, but meat from grass-fed animals contains up to 5 times as much Omega-3 as meat from grain-fed animals (7, 8, 9).

But the nutrient composition of meat goes way beyond all the macro- and micronutrients that we are all familiar with.

There is also a plethora of important lesser-known nutrients in meat, that can not be gotten from plants. These nutrients are crucial for optimal function of the body:

  • Creatine forms an energy reserve in the muscles and brain and is found only in animal foods. Vegetarians are deficient in creatine, leading to reduced physical and mental performance (10, 11, 12, 13).
  • Carnosine functions as a powerful anti-oxidant and provides protection against many degenerative processes. Carnosine is only found in animal foods (14, 15, 16).
  • DHA and EPA are the active forms of Omega-3 in the human body and found primarily in animal foods. The body is inefficient at converting ALA (the plant form of Omega-3) to the active forms

3. Meat Doesn’t Raise Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease or Diabetes

There are many claims about meat being able to contribute to serious diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

The main reason for these claims is that meat is high insaturated fat.

However, this myth has actually been debunked quite thoroughly in recent years.

Studies now show that saturated fat in the diet doesn’t raise the “bad” cholesterol in the blood and is not in any wayassociated with heart disease

4. Meat Contains High Quality Protein, Which is Crucial For The Function of Muscles and Bones

There are about 9 amino acids that we can not produce and must get from the diet.

In this regard, animal proteins are excellent… they contain all the amino acids that we need, while most plant proteins have a suboptimal amino acid profile (24).

Not surprisingly, consumption of animal protein is associated with increased muscle mass and people who eat an omnivorous diet have more muscle than people eating a vegetarian diet (25, 26).

Studies also show that vegetarians have much lower testosterone levels than their meat-eating counterparts. Low testosterone is associated with reduced strength, less muscle mass, more fat gain, depression and reduced self-esteem (27, 28).

Another thing that protein is important for is bone health. The studies show that consumption of protein, especially animal protein, is associated with increased bone density in old age and a lower risk of fractures (29, 30, 31, 32).

If you want to gain (or maintain) muscle, as well as prevent osteoporosis and fractures in old age, then animal protein should be a regular part of your diet.

 

5. There is Only a Very Weak Correlation With Cancer, Which May be Due to Overcooking, NOT the Meat Itself

here are some studies showing a link between red meat consumption and cancer (33).

However, all of these studies are so-calledobservational studies, which tend to be unreliable.

These studies often make the mistake of pooling together processed and unprocessed meats, which is unacceptable because the two have vastly different effects.

While it is true that processed meat strongly correlates with increased cancer risk, the same is NOT true for unprocessed red meat.

In so-called meta-analyses, which are studies that analyze the data from many studies at the same time, the link between red meat and cancer is found to be very weak (34).

These studies only find a very small increase in risk for men, and zero increase for women (35).

That being said, it is possible that the way meat is cooked can have an effect, because carcinogens can form when meat is cooked excessively (36).

For this reason, it is important to use gentler cooking methods and cut away all burnt or charred pieces.

6. There Are No Proven Health Benefits to Avoiding Meat

Despite all the propaganda, there is no actual evidence that avoiding meat leads to health benefits.

True… there are observational studies showing that vegetarians have a lower risk of several diseases (37).

However, these results are fully explained by the fact that vegetarians are more health conscious overall and more likely to exercise, less likely to smoke, etc.

When vegetarians are compared to meat eaters that are also health conscious, no difference is found (38).

It is also important to note that most vegetarian and vegan diets DO recommend that people eat unprocessed, whole foods and avoid added sugars, refined grains and trans fats.

If vegetarian diets really have health benefits, then this is the true reason, NOT the fact that they eliminate perfectly healthy animal foods.

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