If you’re big on the beef, you might not want to imagine life without it. A new study shows it’s best to start cutting back for health reasons, if climate change arguments weren’t enough. Here’s to do to.
The research, a collaboration between University of South Australia and Gyeongsang National University, found that eating red meat could increase the risk of some pretty nasty health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and complications in diabetes.
It found when red meat was grilled, roasted or fried, the negative effects could compound.
“When red meat is seared at high temperatures, such as grilling, roasting or frying, it creates compounds called advanced glycation end products – or AGEs – which when consumed, can accumulate in your body and interfere with normal cell functions,” Dr Permal Deo, a researcher on the study, said in a media release.
“Consumption of high-AGE foods can increase our total daily AGE intake by 25 per cent, with higher levels contributing to vascular and myocardial stiffening, inflammation and oxidative stress — all signs of degenerative disease.”
Aside from the potential health implications, eating red meat has a big impact on the environment too. A Lancet study released in 2019, per the New York Times, showed red meat consumption was a big contributor to the world’s greenhouse emissions — a key cause of climate change.
So you know why you should be cutting down on it, here’s how you do it.
Tips to cut down on your red meat intake
If you’re eating red meat for every meal, it’s a good idea to slowly start to pull back. Harvard’s School of Public Health offers a few simple ideas on how to do just that.
Firstly, you can swap out that steak for another non-red meat. Salmon or chicken is a good place to start because you’ll feel like you’re still getting your meat intake.
Once you’ve gotten used to the idea of not eating red meat all the time, the rest comes a lot easier. Throw the meat and vegetables concept out of the window and experiment with different dishes.
Crazy concept, I know, but there’s a whole plethora of food out there that will fill you up and not even require meat. Harvard’s suggestion is to half-fill your plate with colourful veggies and then legumes, beans or brown rice where you would typically pop your meat. You can still include a bit of meat but it won’t be the majority of your meal.
Cutting down your red meat consumption doesn’t mean going cold turkey on it. It’s about reducing the consistency and size proportions, which will balance out your diet overall.
If you’re finding it hard to keep up, you can even start a food diary or schedule to make sure you’re sticking to the right amount.
Sure, it’s good for the environment but it’s also good for you.