Why is it recommended to reduce the consumption of red meat?

According to the Global Burden of Disease Project, approximately 34,000 cancer deaths a year are related to consumption rich in processed meat. For this reason, the WHO and other institutions recommend reducing the consumption of red meat and processed meat. 

What meat is considered red meat?

Red meat, according to the WHO, is “all the muscular meat of mammals, including beef, veal, pork, lamb, horse and goat.” It is a rich source of proteins of high biological value and fats, especially saturated ones. It is
also rich in micronutrients such as vitamin B12, Iron, Potassium, Phosphorus, and Zinc. And then, the cold cuts are also red meat? Not! Sausages are processed meat  that has been previously transformed through different types of  preservation such as salting or smoking. Most processed meats  contain red meat , in many cases pork, but we can also findother ingredients, such as meat by-products or other poultry, for example.

Consuming less red meat is beneficial?

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Spain, the per capita consumption of fresh meat in 2017 was 42.6 kg / person / year and of processed meat, 3.3 kg / person / year. And this is a lot? Well, that year the consumption of meat was lower compared to 2016, since in one year the consumption of meat had decreased by 2.2% compared to  the previous year .

This reduction in consumption is beneficial because it has been shown that a high consumption of  red and processed meat can cause diseases such as ischemic heart disease, colon, pancreas, prostate and kidney cancer  due to the increase in uremic toxins and as a consequence a  progression of kidney diseases. Red meat is in Group 2a as a carcinogen and processed meat in Group 1 (the same group as tobacco). In addition, it can also cause type 2 diabetes. Therefore, less meat consumption will reduce the chances of suffering from cardiovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes, according to the American Dietary Guidelines.

According to the WHO, the main cause of death in adulthood is  ischemic heart disease  , which, as we said, is also a disease associated with high consumption of meat. Ischemic heart disease is caused by arteriosclerosis of the  coronary arteries, that is, the arteries become clogged by accumulation of lipids (cholesterol) and inflammatory cells. This causes a narrowing of the coronary arteries and can trigger a heart attack or ischemia in the area.

Why a high consumption of red meat can be carcinogenic?

Meat is made up of different macro and micronutrients, but it also has carcinogenic chemical compounds such as N-nitrous or hydrocarbons that are formed during meat processing and are also formed during the cooking process. So can we eat raw meat? Actually, opting for a regular consumption of raw meat would not be a solution because it is not safe.
On the other hand, the consumption of meat not only causes diseases in our body, but also affects the environment, with overproduction and large areas of livestock groups.

What consumption of red meat does not put health at risk?

According to the World Wide Fund for Cancer Research, it is  a maximum consumption of 300 g per week of red meat recommended. Do not consume red meat or moderate its consumption to that maximum of 300g per week, will reduce the chances of  suffering from intestinal pathologies, heart disease,  diabetes and some types of cancer.

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