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Is eating meat bad for your health?

Consumption of animal protein is particularly high in Brazil, the United States, and Europe. Experts warn that this is harmful to the environment and health, and can lead to serious diseases, such as daily animal protein. In the United States and Australia, each person eats an average of 100 kilograms of meat per year; In Europe their weight is about 80 kilograms. In Germany, about 60 km. In Brazil, the average annual consumption of meat per capita was 77 kilograms in 2018, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Unfortunately, those numbers are too high when considering the damage to the environment and the cruelty to animals bred to satisfy the world’s massive appetite for meat. But in addition to these factors, per capita consumption of animal protein is also high when considering the harm to human health itself. The German Dietetic Association (DGE) recommends a maximum of 600 grams of meat per person per week. According to the DGE Nutrition Report, German men consume nearly twice as much. The meta-analyses included in the study showed that high consumption of red and processed meat has a very negative impact on some serious diseases. What diseases can meat cause? Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, has been studying the relationship between food, disease, and health for 40 years. When asked about the main health problems caused by meat consumption, he cited cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Red meat — from cattle, pigs, sheep or goats — causes particularly great harm, he said. “Red meat is rich in saturated fatty acids, which raise the level of bad cholesterol in the blood (the so-called ‘bad cholesterol’) and are a clear cause of heart attacks. At the same time, red meat contains almost no polyunsaturated fatty acids, which Reduces levels of lipids in the blood and thus the risk of heart disease.Red meat increases the risk factor already known among cardiologists: trimethylamine nitrogen oxide (TMAO) It causes a pathological build-up of cholesterol and other fat nests in the arteries, which is called atherosclerosis. According to a 2019 American study, the first signs of atherosclerosis can already be noticed after a short period of excessive consumption of red meat. Extreme here means two portions of meat per day. Researchers also suspect that eating red meat also affects kidney function. They note that the kidneys Less efficient at excreting TMAO after a meat meal Meat increases the risk of type 2 diabetes Willett himself has been involved in several studies that have investigated the relationship between meat consumption and diabetes, Also known as type 2 diabetes. According to studies, red meat in particular supports diabetes. In other research, Willett and colleagues also found an association between hot grilled or fried meat and an increased risk of diabetes. The result was applied not only to the beef steak, but also to the chicken thigh. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are about 60 million people living with diabetes in Europe. In Brazil, there are about 15 million adults, or 9.14% of the population over the age of 18, according to a survey by the Ministry of Health. Despite this, diabetes is a disease that is “largely preventable with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise,” the World Health Organization states on its website. Meat, of course, is just one variable. Willett warns that “switching from meat to sweetened beverages has no health benefit.” If you only eat potato chips and drink soda, you may be vegan and diabetic at the same time. Does meat cause cancer? In several studies, meat consumption is also associated with the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Processed red meat, which includes sausage, ham, and salami, is also particularly problematic. However, in 2019, a publication by a team of scientists from the so-called NutriRECS consortium drew attention by recommending that adults continue to consume processed red meat as before. The publication received criticism from experts because, as the authors themselves write, the recommendations were based on very weak evidence. In fact, three of the five meta-analyses that the consortium authors used as the basis for their recommendation came to the conclusion that processed red meat leads to a higher rate of cancer mortality. Another meta-analysis from 2021 also concluded that diets rich in meat significantly increase the risk of breast and colon cancer, for example. And when roasting or grilling food, it also produces carcinogens. Can I stop eating meat? Many believe that meat is part of a healthy diet. This may be true in regions where vegetables and legumes are difficult to grow and people rely on the nutrients their animal meat provides. “Meat has valuable ingredients, of course,” Willett says. Chicken is less harmful than red meat and fish can also contribute to a healthy diet. No one has to completely give up meat and animal products to stay healthy. On the other hand, vegetarians can also enjoy good health. “The best thing is a mostly plant-based diet,” says the nutritionist. Nuts, legumes and soy products are good sources of protein. Vegetables also contain a lot of fiber and phytochemicals that reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. A predominantly plant-based diet contributes to environmental protection and animal welfare. So Walter Willett believes that the environmental consequences of meat consumption should be taken into account when answering the question of how meat causes our disease. “There are no healthy people without a healthy planet.” Author: Julia Virgin

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