You’re probably familiar with the stereotypical meat battle, and you probably have your own convictions, as most people do.
Regardless of how you feel or where you stand, you may be looking for reasons to eat less meat. Perhaps you’re taking a stand against animal cruelty, or maybe you’re just looking to switch up your diet. No matter what your reasons are, we’re going to share a few of our own and reveal why eating less meat may be in your best long-term interest.
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Eating less meat has several health benefits. Some you may have heard before, others may be entirely new to you. In any event, we’ve outlined a few of these benefits below which may pique your interest.
It Lowers Your Cancer Risk
Everyone fears “the c word.” But what a lot of people don’t know is that about a third of all cancer cases can be prevented by eating healthy, getting physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight. Limiting your meat intake can help you do this. Abstaining from red, processed, fried, broiled, or grilled meats can reduce the risk of the following cancers:
It Reduces Your Risk for Heart Disease
It isn’t a little-known fact that diets that are high in saturated fats raise LDL cholesterol and increases the risk of heart disease. A study revealed that replacing foods that are rich in saturated fat, such as meat, with foods that are high polyunsaturated fats, such as vegetables, reduced the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases by 19%. Eating less meat could save your life.
It Helps Combat Obesity
Obesity is a rising epidemic in the United States, with more than two-thirds of adults being categorized as overweight or obese. The extremely high obesity rate is partly contributed to people’s eating habits. Those who eat more meat have an increased risk of obesity, according to this study.
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Eating less meat will help you one, to lose weight, and two, to keep it off. A study showed that those whose diets were more consistently vegetarian had less body mass indexes (BMI) and weighed less than those whose diets contained more meats.
Eating less meat also has many environmental benefits. We can all agree that our environment is vital to our existence, so these benefits should be of interest to everyone.
It Reduces Your Carbon Footprint
Because cows have four stomachs, they produce excessive amounts of methane, which is a greenhouse gas more than twenty times more potent than carbon dioxide. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) states that the meat industry accounts for eighteen percent of the total greenhouse gasses that are emitted.
It Lowers Water Usage
The amount of water it takes to maintain herds of cattle and livestock is tremendous in comparison to the amount of water needed to maintain crops of vegetables or grains. Just to produce two pounds of beef takes over 11,000 gallons of water, while 2 pounds of grain takes 264 gallons.
It Helps Stop Rapid Deforestation
Livestock requires a lot of land for both living and feeding on; as such, the meat industry—and the demand for meat, at that—is a huge contributor to the deforestation, especially that of the Amazon rainforest. As the demand for meat products grows, so does the demand for land to raise cattle on.
Besides benefitting your health and the environment, cutting back on meat can also be beneficial in other areas.
It Improves Animals’ Lives
Slaughterhouse and living conditions for animals who are bred to make or become food are not pleasant. Even though attempts are made to make the animals as comfortable as possible, the situations are usually still stressful and painful for the animals.
According to an article in Women’s Health Magazine, if every American cut out meat from their diet just once a week, almost one and a half billion animals could be saved from this horrible fate each year.
It’s Becoming Easier Than Ever
Times are changing, which means there are more diet options out there now than ever before. That means that for virtually every consumable meat product there is a vegetarian or vegan alternative. Think veggie burgers for example. Many brands make foods that are meat alternatives, such as:
- Beyond Meat
- Trader Joe’s
- Sweet Earth Natural Foods
- MorningStar Farms