They say eating meat is bad for you and the environment. We’re here to debunk those myths and more! Looks like meat’s back on the menu.
These days, you needn’t look far to find claims that meat is unhealthy. The anti-meat crowd has grown into an entire industry, empowering themselves with a laundry list of claims like:
Eating meat is generally bad for you
It leads to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes
And meat hurts the environment
The people who cite these claims may be well-intentioned, but they are not well-informed. The science that guides them is not only outdated but, in many cases, it was wrong from the start.
With so many conflicting studies, no wonder so many are asking if it’s unhealthy to eat meat! If you have with questions, don’t fret. Our medical experts have sifted through the research to give you answers.
So, keep reading! In this post, we’ll debunk 5 myths that say eating meat can be harmful.
5 Myths About Why Eating Meat is Unhealthy
Before we debunk these 5 myths, consider this: our most ancient ancestors subsisted primarily by eating meat. To this day, there are human populations (like the Inuit) who eat almost nothing but meat.
For most of known human history, the only source of protein was meat… and we survived! Fast forward to modern day, and an average of 86% of people eat meat regularly. That’s according to a survey by Statista that asked people from 21 countries about their meat-eating habits.
With all that in mind, let’s investigate these meat myths:
Meat is bad for your health overall
Eating meat can increase the risk of diabetes
Fruits and vegetables are more nutritious than meat
Eating meat and saturated fats leads to heart disease and stroke
Meat hurts the environment and our health
Here’s a shocker: studies that start with the hypothesis of “why eating meat is bad for your body” almost always find the same. As we’ll find out, the myth of harmful meat is one of the oldest lies in modern science.
Myth 1: Meat is bad for your health overall
There are many studies suggesting the negative health effects of meat. Among them are studies claiming that:
The problem with these meat studies, and nutritional studies in general, is that they have many limitations. The biggest one is that many broad nutritional studies are “observational” rather than “experimental.”
An observational study is a kind of study that looks at existing data and attempts to make conclusions based on it. The issue with that is it becomes challenging to rule out confounding factors:
How many people in the study were smokers?
How many were stressed out?
How many had a family history of heart disease?
Since it’s impossible to rule out confounding factors like the above, it’s impossible to establish causation, only correlation. That’s exactly the problem with the studies that claim meat is bad for your health.
Instead of cutting meat out of your diet altogether, why not make healthier choices? Here’s an easy way to do that: eliminate factory-farmed and processed meats from your diet!
Myth 2: Eating Meat can increase the risk of diabetes
The myth that meat causes Type II diabetes is one of the more sinister on this list. The claim originates from studies like this one conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health.
The funny business starts in the study design. One obvious flaw: they are looking at the effects of red and processed meats in the same cohort. That means people eating a grass-fed steak are in the same group as people eating fast food hot dogs.
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The Harvard study is yet another observational study making yet another bold claim. They found that participants who ate the most red meat had a 62% higher chance of developing Type II diabetes.
This myth couldn’t be any easier to debunk. We just need to figure out if red meat impacts risk factors like insulin resistance, fasting glucose, etc. That’s an experiment many non-scientists could do at home!
Luckily, that study has already been done by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It proved red meat has no impact on diabetes risk factors at all. And why would it? Protein-rich foods don’t impact blood sugar levels… sugar does!
Here at the FLCCC, we know research shows that sugar is the real enemy – not meat. We’ve written several guides all about the many health benefits associated with a diet low in sugar and processed foods:
Myth 3: Fruits and vegetables are more nutritious than meat
Many people can make a plant-based diet work well for them. If it’s working for your health, stay with it.
But since we’re busting myths today, let’s debunk the common misconception that fruits and vegetables are “the healthy foods.” The truth is fruits, veggies, and meat all have their unique health benefits.
While fruits are nutritious, it’s important to eat them in moderation, as some can be high in sugar. A balanced approach to diet, including a variety of food groups, is key to maintaining good health.
For example, most people know meat doesn’t have much vitamin C. That’s why sailors used to take citrus fruits on long sea trips to avoid scurvy. Similarly, there are important vitamins and minerals that fruits and vegetables don’t have much of either.
The first and most obvious health benefit found richly in meat is protein… otherwise known as the building blocks of life! Your body needs protein for tissue repair, growth, hormone and enzyme production, plus a lot more.