On Monday, the World Health Organization’s announced that processed meat and red meat are classified as carcinogens.
What this means for meat consumers isn't necessarily to avoid meat all together, but to eat very little quantities of it. After all, people have been eating meat for millennia, and even as a vegan I will attest to that.
But its also true, that life expectancy is higher today. Previously people weren't living long enough to get cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Moreover, meat wasn't as accessible and consumed as frequently as it is today.
Mariana Stern, a cancer epidemiologist from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and one of the 22 scientists on the panel that reported the findings stated in a Science News article by Rachel Ehrenberg:
“Age is the biggest carcinogen that we have. We’ve been eating meat for a long time, but currently, we may be eating it in much higher amounts and our life expectancy is higher so we have more time to develop cancers.”
To be able to live long and healthy lives, we must modify our diets. That includes eliminating processed foods that contain nitrates, and reducing our meat consumption.
Further, the way you cook your meat matters too. Burning your meat, such as when you barbecue, creates cancer causing nitroso compounds.
If you must eat meat, choose grass-fed over corn fed. Cows were made to eat grass. Grass contains beneficial vitamins and minerals for cows, that in turn become beneficial to the consumer. Benefits like the ultra-amazing omega-3 fats. Plus, grass-fed beef tastes better too.
Some additional reading on red meat:
- It increases your risk for type 2 diabetes Source: Meat consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: the Multiethnic Cohort.
- The kind of iron in meat (heme iron) causes colorectal cancer through the formation of nitroso compounds. Iron is essential for us, but the kind of you get from meat can pose serious health risks. Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21209396
Now that you've significantly reduced your meat consumption. Spend your calories on plants! You're going to live longer than the generation before you, eat healthy so you'll live healthy through those years.