Benefits of reducing meat consumption


According to some studies, to limit il consumption Of carne – when of poor quality and present in excess in the diet – could have numerous benefits for general health.

The conclusions deduced, however, do not take into account numerous variables that are fundamental to defining a realistic and indicative general framework. For example, the fattiness of the meat, the type, the degree of processing, the presence of additives, the cooking methodology, etc. But also the caloric intake pre- and post-limitation of meat, therefore the impact of the new diet on weight. And again, the previous quantity of foods of plant origin etc.

In any case, from insights, the reduction of meat in the diet of the general population has been linked to a improvement from the salute general and a reduction in the risk of certain diseases (reduction of cholesterolemia, optimization of intestinal health, better weight control, etc.).

Overall, these benefits appear to be closely related to type Of diet and to stile Of vita overall. To be clear: it is easily deduced that a person who eats fast food every day will have an overall less healthy lifestyle than someone who, for example, follows a vegan diet.

Reducing meat consumption: pros and cons

Diets with no or limited amounts of meat are associated with health benefits.

Vegetarian diets, which exclude meat, and vegan dietswhich exclude all products of animal originappear to be able to statistically reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, but also to improve the insulin resistance and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The possibles benefits for health resulting from the limitation of meat and the consumption of more vegetables derive:

  • by the moderation of saturated fats and cholesterol, of certain additives (nitrates and nitrites) and of carbonization residues (grilled, grilled, frying, etc.);
  • by the greater consumption of plant foods they contain antioxidants, fibre e beneficial micronutrients.
  • from a less caloric diet.

However, exclude meat and consume other processed foods, rich in added sugars, salt and fats of “dubious quality”, it won't have the same benefits, even if the processed foods are plant-based.

Dramatically reducing meat consumption, on the other hand, causes a chronic deficiency vitamina B12and may increase the risk of sub-optimal levels of ferro (in women), soccer (especially in growing, elderly and pregnant subjects) e zinc.

Benefits for the heart

One of the most studied aspects of plant-based diets is their effect on heart health.

There is a well-established correlation between the intake of saturated fats, which are found mainly in animal products, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In this sense, fatty cuts, sausages (sausages, frankfurters, etc.), fatty cured meats, etc., which can contribute to the development of hypercholesterolemia, high blood pressure, etc., should be avoided or limited in quantity and frequency of consumption.

Meats with a low content of saturated fats, to be preferred no more than twice a week, are: skinless poultry, rabbit, certain types of game, frogs, lean cuts (e.g. fillet) and trimmed ones (e.g. loin, which has mainly external fat), obtained from “lean” variety animals.

Logically, in the same animal, there are leaner cuts than others and, based on the above logic, they should be preferred over the others; however, for sustainability reasons, we cannot think of eating only part of the animal. On the contrary; it would be correct for consumers to understand that they eat every part of the beast, including offal. If too much saturated fat, cholesterol and calories are introduced overall, it means that the overall amount of meat is still too high.

Additionally, the greatest reductions in heart disease risk were seen when they replace saturated fat sources with fat sources unsaturated (especially oleic, alpha-linolenic, linoleic acid), such as fish, oil seeds such as flax and sunflower seeds, and dried fruit in general.

Plant-based diets are often rich in sources of unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, and dietary fiber, nutritional factors that can help reduce high levels of cholesterol in the blood. As a result, eating more plant-based while cutting back on meat high in saturated fat may benefit heart health.

Benefits for the intestine

Diets that exclude meat are Often rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and other plant foods, which boast a good content of dietary fibre, which is precious for intestinal well-being, as it has an anti-inflammatory and immune-supporting action in the body. Gut bacteria may also play a role in preventing the growth of certain cancer cells, improving body composition, and protecting against type 2 diabetes.

Plant-based foods promote lhe growth of beneficial microflora in the intestine, while excess animal products facilitates the predominance of other bacteria which can have a negative impact.

Cancer reduction

Limiting your consumption of certain types of meat may also help reduce your risk of certain types of cancer.

Eating a lot of processed meats, such as bacon, frankfurters, and other smoked, cured meats, has been associated with a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Some researchers have suggested that saturated fats and carcinogenic compounds produced during meat processing and high-temperature cooking play a decisive role in the development of neoplastic cells. Plant foods, on the other hand, appear to have a protective effect against colorectal and other tumors.

Therefore, those who consume mainly chicken and rabbit, occasionally steaks from large animals, all cooked in an “intelligent” way – with normal portions of fruit, vegetables, cereals and legumes – do not show any increased risk of cancer.

A sustainable choice…

Limiting meat consumption represents OBJECTIVELY a sustainable choice which is good not only for the body but also for the environment.

This is because meat production requires more resources, leads to greater greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to deforestation and pollution more than the production of minimally processed fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods.

Limit meat: advice

Some tips on how to limit the consumption of red, processed meat and cured meats, rich in saturated fats and sodium.

  • Replace the portion of red meat with poultry, rabbit animals, sustainable fishing products, lean milk derivatives and eggs: fewer calories and saturated fats;
  • Increase protein sources of plant origin: especially from legumes, but also from oil seeds and cereals (black beans, chickpeas, borlotti beans, lentils, walnuts and other nuts); soy products such as tofu and tempeh have a higher environmental impact, but not comparable to that of meat;
  • Prepare vegetable burgers by replacing, even partially, the classic minced meat such as legumes and vegetables such as chickpeas and spinach, or broccoli;
  • Try vegetable ragù based on lentils, for example, and flavor with the classic spices used in traditional recipes.

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