7 Evidence-Based Health Reasons to Eat Meat

Teenage Girl Eating Meat From FridgeIn the past few decades, meat has been blamed for all sorts of Western diseases.

But we’ve been eating meat for a long time and blaming new health problems on old foods doesn’t make much sense.

The truth is… unprocessed, naturally fed meat is extremely healthy.

Here are 7 evidence-based health reasons to eat meat (and be proud of it).

1. We Have Been Designed by Evolution to Eat Meat and Other Animal Foods

Throughout evolution, humans and pre-humans have been eating meat (1, 2).

Our digestive systems are well equipped to make full use of the healthy fats, proteins and nutrients found in animal foods.

High Protein Foods

The truth is that humans are omnivores, despite what some vegan proponents would have you believe. We function best eating BOTH animals and plants (3).

Humans have much shorter digestive systems than herbivores and don’t have the specialized organs to digest cellulose, the main fiber in plants.

Humans also have canines, with big brains, opposing thumbs and the ability to make tools to hunt. Meat was one of the reasons humans were able to evolve such large, elaborate brains.

Some of the earliest evidence shows that our pre-human ancestors were eating meat as early as 1.5 million years ago (4).

Bottom Line: Humans and pre-humans have been designed by evolution to consume and make full use of the important nutrients found in animal foods.

2. Meat is Incredibly Nutritious

Meat

High quality, unprocessed meat is among the most nutritious foods in the world.

A 100 gram portion (3.5 ounces) of raw ground beef contains large amounts of Vitamin B12, B3 (Niacin), B6, Iron, Zinc, Selenium and plenty of other vitamins and minerals (5).

Vitamin B12 is particularly important because it can not be gotten in ANY amount from plants. Studies show that out of vegans who don’t supplement with B12, 92% are deficient in this critical nutrient (6).

Unprocessed meat is also loaded with healthy fats, but meat from grass-fed animals contains up to 5 times as much Omega-3 as meat from grain-fed animals (7, 8, 9).

But the nutrient composition of meat goes way beyond all the macro- and micronutrients that we are all familiar with.

There is also a plethora of important lesser-known nutrients in meat, that can not be gotten from plants. These nutrients are crucial for optimal function of the body:

  • Creatine forms an energy reserve in the muscles and brain and is found only in animal foods. Vegetarians are deficient in creatine, leading to reduced physical and mental performance (10, 11, 12, 13).
  • Carnosine functions as a powerful anti-oxidant and provides protection against many degenerative processes. Carnosine is only found in animal foods (14, 15, 16, 17).
  • DHA and EPA are the active forms of Omega-3 in the human body and found primarily in animal foods. The body is inefficient at converting ALA (the plant form of Omega-3) to the active forms (18, 19, 20).

This is really just the tip of the iceberg. There is an immense amount of important trace nutrients in both plants and animals, some of which science has yet to uncover.

Bottom Line: Meat is highly nutritious and there are many nutrients in there that can not be gotten in any amount from plants.

3. Meat Doesn’t Raise Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease or Diabetes

Doctor With Thumbs Up

There are many claims about meat being able to contribute to serious diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

The main reason for these claims is that meat is high in saturated fat.

However, this myth has actually been debunked quite thoroughly in recent years.

Studies now show that saturated fat in the diet doesn’t raise the “bad” cholesterol in the blood and is not in any way associated with heart disease (21, 22).

In a massive study from Harvard that looked at data from 20 studies with a total of 1,218,380 individuals, they found no association between unprocessed red meat, cardiovascular disease and diabetes (23).

The EPIC study from Europe didn’t find any association either and this study included almost 450 thousand people (24).

However, both of these studies found a significantly increased risk for processed meat.

If you want to avoid chronic disease, then it makes sense to avoid processed meat as much as possible. But unprocessed red meat is perfectly healthy.

Bottom Line: There is no evidence that unprocessed meat contributes to cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

4. Meat Contains High Quality Protein, Which is Crucial For The Function of Muscles and Bones

Raw Lamb Chops

Proteins are like long strings of amino acids that are linked together and folded into complex shapes.

There are about 9 amino acids that we can not produce and must get from the diet.

In this regard, animal proteins are excellent… they contain all the amino acids that we need, while most plant proteins have a suboptimal amino acid profile (25).

Not surprisingly, consumption of animal protein is associated with increased muscle mass and people who eat an omnivorous diet have more muscle than people eating a vegetarian diet (26, 27).

Studies also show that vegetarians have much lower testosterone levels than their meat-eating counterparts. Low testosterone is associated with reduced strength, less muscle mass, more fat gain, depression and reduced self-esteem (28, 29).

Another thing that protein is important for is bone health. The studies show that consumption of protein, especially animal protein, is associated with increased bone density in old age and a lower risk of fractures (30, 31, 32, 33).

If you want to gain (or maintain) muscle, as well as prevent osteoporosis and fractures in old age, then animal protein should be a regular part of your diet.

Bottom Line: Consumption of animal protein leads to increased muscle mass and bone density. Vegetarians have lower testosterone and less muscle mass than their meat-eating counterparts.

5. There is Only a Very Weak Correlation With Cancer, Which May be Due to Overcooking, NOT the Meat Itself

Grilled Steak

There are some studies showing a link between red meat consumption and cancer (34).

However, all of these studies are so-called observational studies, which tend to be unreliable.

These studies often make the mistake of pooling together processed and unprocessed meats, which is unacceptable because the two have vastly different effects.

While it is true that processed meat strongly correlates with increased cancer risk, the same is NOT true for unprocessed red meat.

In so-called meta-analyses, which are studies that analyze the data from many studies at the same time, the link between red meat and cancer is found to be very weak (35).

These studies only find a very small increase in risk for men, and zero increase for women (36).

That being said, it is possible that the way meat is cooked can have an effect, because carcinogens can form when meat is cooked excessively (37).

For this reason, it is important to use gentler cooking methods and cut away all burnt or charred pieces.

Bottom Line: The association between unprocessed red meat and cancer has been vastly exaggerated, but overcooking meat may have adverse effects.

6. There Are No Proven Health Benefits to Avoiding Meat

Despite all the propaganda, there is no actual evidence that avoiding meat leads to health benefits.

A Little Girl Eating Meat

True… there are observational studies showing that vegetarians have a lower risk of several diseases (38).

However, these results are fully explained by the fact that vegetarians are more health conscious overall and more likely to exercise, less likely to smoke, etc.

When vegetarians are compared to meat eaters that are also health conscious, no difference is found (39).

It is also important to note that most vegetarian and vegan diets DO recommend that people eat unprocessed, whole foods and avoid added sugars, refined grains and trans fats.

If vegetarian diets really have health benefits, then this is the true reason, NOT the fact that they eliminate perfectly healthy animal foods.

7. Meat Tastes Incredibly Good

Steak, roast chicken, lamb chops… Nuff said.

86 Comments

  1. Could have left #7 out.

    Now brainwashed sheep will overlook all of the above and say that people eat meat just because it’s tasty.

    • Eat things because they’re tasty? Well, whod’ve thunk it?

      (apart from things that seem to be tasty but are actually not satisfying at all, like most sweet and processed foods)

      Get me some more tasty meat!

      • You know what I mean…

        Most filthy vegans say that normal omnivorous people continue eating meat just for a gastronomical treat, while it has no nutritional value.

        Having an article about red meat’s health benefits mentioning how tasty it is serves only to strengthen their so called arguments.

        • If eating has to become a sack-cloth and ashes penance, where we only eat food for its nutritional value, then we may as well all become vegan sheeples and get it over with now. What the heck is wrong with enjoying your food? Fortunately we have been adapted by evolution to enjoy the taste of nourishing food — like meat! :-)

          • My friend is jainist and from India, he told me that you can only eat certain vegetables or you are committing mass murder. For example he told me to pick a potato is to commit genocide on the billions of microorganisms that live in the roots of the potato. To him it is no different eating a pig than eating a potato. So how many of these new age vegetarians actually care about suffering and murder of innocent creatures. To me it just seems like they want to feel superior or different rather than actually stopping cruelty.

          • Lisa HP says:

            Would you say both plants and animals exhibit feelings? True, both experience life and death, but plants and animals have very different levels of consciousness. When you pick a potato, are the cells and microorganisms experiencing fear, anxiety, anger, or any feeling? They don’t even feel happiness, sadness, or love.

            Animals are capable of feelings, when you kill them, you are actually harming a creature capable of feeling fear and anxiety. You can’t simply compare potatoes to chickens.

      • I tried to stop eating meat for health reasons, I think propaganda against meat had a hold over me. The vegetarian diet left me feeling strained for energy day in and day out. I’m already underweight as it is, and I feel that since eating meat again I have much more life force overall.

        Yes animals die to feed us, it’s sad about the general lack of care being applied on industrial meat farms. We should just choose to be more conscious, as the article mentioned, in our choices of what meats we consume.

  2. I’ve been reading your website since you started it and it has helped me in many ways, but I have a question I’d like to know the answer to: are all types of meat healthy?

    I mean, is the meat of birds (in my country called “white meat”) “healthier” than the red one (from pig and cows?).

    Is protein that important, should I eat protein at breakfast? Here in Portugal, we normally drink milk and a lot of bread with some jam. At lunch we usually have soup and rice/potatoes with fish/meat. I read it and I became amazed with the amount of protein you eat. Waiting for a response :)

    • Hey Pedro,

      I’ll jump in here (if that’s ok Kris?)

      I think Kris would say that how your meat was reared is more important than the animal it comes from.

      This means you’re better off looking for high quality meat, regardless of the animal. Same for your milk.

      What I’ve found with clients over the years is that we all have different needs when it comes to our nutrients. Some people need a lot of protein, some people need a lot of carbs (from the right sources) and some people are in between. The key is giving yourself the time and leeway to experiment and see what works for you.

      Hope this helps,
      George

  3. Thanks, it’s again a very helpful article.

    In France, it is difficult to find grass fed meat. And a low carb and athletic lifestyle impose me to eat meat almost every day (for not to be hungry and keep muscles). Do you think its a good thing to eat all this meat even if its not grass fed meat? Or do you think it’s better to eat less meat if I have no access to good meat, and use other sources of protein like fish or others? Thanks!

  4. David Jardon says:

    I understand the reasons when you say unprocessed meat is healthy. But naturally fed? How important is this and what exactly do you mean when you say it? How do we know how the animal is fed?

    • Hey David,

      I think it would be safe to assume that all meat in the US is not pasture fed unless it’s explicitly marketed as such.
      Sadly it means we need to look for such terms as ‘grass fed’, ‘pasture raised’ and ‘pasture finished’.

      Hope this helps,
      George

  5. Hey, John here. Kris, I must say you have here the best website in all the web. But please, help me. I do triathlons, I’m 16 years old, (I run 10km per day, swim about 5, and cycle over 100km per week) and I’m trying each day to become healthier in my nutrition plan.

    As you guess I’m trying to get information for all ways but here I found what seems to be true. I’m now in the world championship and even the master trainers do not care about what I eat. I really wanted to know what type of antioxidants do you recommend: till now I’ve been eating Gojis, berries, and bananas, apples, pears, that kind of fruit that we have.

    Also, do you recommend any kind of seeds such as flax/linseed or sunflower seed? Are the lipids they have healthy? I would really like to hear from you, maybe when you have got time.

    Also, I share the same doubt about processed/unprocessed food, how do I know if the beef/ham I’m eating is healthy or not?

    ONCE AGAIN, thanks a lot.

  6. Abinico Warez says:

    Love meat – eat at every meal; and my cats love meat – eat at every meal. Love saturated fat – brain is like 90% saturated fat; love cholesterol – again for the brain.

  7. Vincent Colangelo says:

    Curious to know who funded this article. The claims don’t seem to be supported very well.

  8. But how to differentiate grass-fed meat from grain-fed? Just to ask butcher/supermarket personnel?

    • Yes! I was at Wegmans (grocery store on the east coast) the other week looking at their organic meat section when an employee asked if I needed any help. I posed a few questions, which he was very informative in answering, and then he went to get a booklet created by Wegmans to show how the animals are treated and the whether they are grass-fed or are given a feed.

      The best place you could buy your meat would be from a local farmer. You can ask them anything about the way they raise their animals and they’re ready and willing to give you an answer. If you buy local you can also check out the farm and see how the animals are treated, as well.

      • Why care about that? If you eat a potato you are killing just as many organisms as a cow…

      • I am 18 and my family has always raised cattle. Our herd is on pasture and we usually have a butchered steer or cow in the freezer. I also show calves and they go from a pasture diet to a pasture/hay/grain diet, and then to a hay and grain diet. They are treated just fine, and the “cruelty” that happens is few and far between. Why would a farmer or company mistreat its source of income?

        Its the same as a car dealer beating up its cars and not servicing them before it sold them. As far as the difference for pasture meat compared to grain meat, it is how tough the meat is and the color. The pasture meat will be tougher (from the cattle’s exercise) and the grayer color is totally normal so don’t be put off by it.

        The grain fed is a redder, more tender meat. It tastes better than the pasture meat and more in demand. Cattle can also gain weight much faster and grow to a larger size than it would be in the pasture. The pasture has more minerals in the meat from the soil, but the grain fed may have more nutrients and protein than it could from the pasture.

        There are definitely pros and cons, but as many have mixed diets like mine, it isn’t really an issue. As far as some killing them. If we didn’t there would be an over population very fast and then we wouldn’t even be able to feed all of them. Use your heads and broaden your look from how they are killed (which is humanely) and what they are feeling to the bigger picture.

  9. Hey Kris,

    Another great article.

    You may have seen some of Mat ‘The Kraken’ Lalondes youtube presentation about nutrient density. It’s a great insight into just how f’ing great meat and animal products are for us, when it comes to nutrients per calorie.

    I’ve posted a few of the slides on my site, and linked to the youtube vid.

    It’s here: http://adventuresinhealth.co.uk/2013/diet-and-nutrition/the-kraken-index-of-nutrient-density-youtube-video-transcription/

    Hope this is useful to you and some of your readers!
    George

  10. Hello Kris.
    I like and appreciate very much all the information you share with us. My question is, what if I can’t get grass fed meat where I live? Is regular meat still good for me? Thank you!!!

    • Yes, regular meat is still very healthy as long as it is unprocessed.

      Grass-fed is even better, but not at all necessary.

      • Marie-Louise says:

        Thanx for this answer Kris. In my country, grass-fed (organic) meat is beyond my budget, especially if I eat red meat daily which I do. I love eating red meat in all its forms. I don’t eat any processed meats.

  11. Number seven is fine if you point out that our tongue evolved as a guiding mechanism.

  12. Etienne Juneau says:

    Perfect!

    Good advice. Just loving it.

  13. As ever Kris, making a great deal of sense. Thanks.

    For me the ideal to knowing where my meat comes from is, to meet the farmer face to face; as I do at my local Farmer’s Market. The guys I go to are both the Farmer and the Butchers, all in one… so I can get the life story of my meat if I want to… ask anything about how they are reared and even visit the farm. There is trust between us and I think we have lost much with the vast distances that have developed in recent decades between the food we buy and its source.

    But as others may be quick to point out not everyone has access, or even the budget for, this kind of grass-fed and grass-finished (pastured) meat. To the latter I would say I am not rich, by any stretch of the imagination but I think my health is worth a few extra dollars, plus I find that with better quality food, less is needed to nourish me and much less is wasted. Not to mention that cheaper cuts are always available and not hard to cook, along with bones to make your own stock, plus liver etc… So I’m not convinced that it ends up costing me much if any more.

    But if you really don’t have access to local, seasonal food, from a trusted source; then I would suggest that health-wise, even store-bought meat to be used in your home-cooked meals – although far from the ideal in the way it is raised, or it nutrient’s makeup – is still better for you than processed, packaged junk-food, emblazoned with health claims!

  14. Another great article…thanks.

    I agree, if you can buy your meat from your local farmers market you really can’t go wrong.

    However, not all of us are fortunate to be able to do this so ‘store-bought’ meat must be the next best thing.

    Processed, packaged ‘junk’ food best NOT to put in your shopping basket…

    All the best, Jan.

  15. Hi Kris.

    I thought cattle fed on grain had more omega 6 in their meat and are therefore not the best choice – even though there is very little choice anyway!

    Finding grass fed beef seems to be pretty difficult unless you are lucky enough to have an organic butcher locally. Should you take fish oil capsules to counteract the extra omega 6s?

    Happy for anybody to answer, cheers.

  16. Kris, What do you consider a processed meat? Bacon? Canned tuna? Canned sardines? Smoked fish?

    • Bacon, pepperoni, smoked/cured meat, etc… but it can really depend on the manufacturer and processing method. Some types of bacon are fine.

      • If you have a locally raised pig butchered, and the farmer smokes the bacon, I’d think that is not “processed”, as we normally think of processed. Would you agree? Because, for about $2 a lb., we get a whole pig, including about 25 lbs of bacon. Imagine, BACON, $2 a lb!

  17. Thanks Kris for a great web site.

    I am very interested in healthy eating like most people and I just watched the movie Forks over knives. This documentary from 2011 suggests that “most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods and eating “whole foods plant-based” instead. It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on that.

    I have read some interviews with the doctor Caldwell Esselstyn (one of the doctors in the documentary) and he is also saying that we shouldn’t eat so much oil and that it is better to skip olive oil.

    Anyways, if you have the time to look at this and give your comment I would be interested to hear that :)

    Otherwise, keep up the great job!

    • Hey Ruth, this documentary is just unscientific vegan propaganda. It may seem convincing, but it really is all based on bogus science.

      • Kevin Davis says:

        Actually, no, it isn’t unscientific propaganda. I’d assume you haven’t seen it if that’s your ignorant response. The film is based on studies from 2 very prominent doctors. It’s loaded with scientific research and facts about the effects of meat, dairy, and oil in the diet. I have been meat, dairy, and oil-free for about a month and have lost over 15 lbs (from 182 to 165) I look and feel better, and my cholesterol and BP numbers are improving as well.

        I was not an unhealthy eater before and rarely ate processed meats. I switched my diet for health reasons, not ethical ones, and I have to say your anti-vegan undertone in this article does not do well for your credibility.

        Writing something more impartial and scientific might be more effective and well received.

        • Alexander P. says:

          Kind of like how you’re impartial with your claims people are ignorant right? And I suppose when you went vegan that’s the only change you made right? No other health-determining activities such as exercise, lowering sugars and the like? Come on, if there is any propaganda it’s on the vegan/vegetarian side. Any article should have cited sources. As this one does. Which is why it’s good. Which is why vegan ones aren’t.

  18. I’m confused about something. You said –

    “When vegetarians are compared to meat eaters that are also health conscious, no difference is found (39).”

    But I clicked on the link (#39) and the study didn’t compare vegetarians with health conscious meat eaters. It compared a large group of health conscious people – including vegetarians – with the general public. And the conclusion?

    “In this cohort of health conscious individuals, daily consumption of fresh fruit is associated with a reduced mortality from ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and all causes combined.”

    That seems very different from your conclusion.

    • Hey Laura, great question.

      You are right about the conclusion of the study. But if you look at the full paper (table 3), you see that they did compare the vegetarian vs non-vegetarian participants and found no difference in the risk of death or any disease. In this analysis, they’re not comparing to the general public.

      They didn’t mention this in the abstract.

      • Thank you! I just looked at table 3 and saw the rates of death for vegetarians. And you’re right, all the comparisons were within the cohort, not with the general public. Now I understand.

  19. I think your website is awesome. Meat is healthy for us for sure. But we should all watch movies like “Earthlings” to know where our cheap cuts of meat may come from. I’m not preaching, just think people should know where meat might have come from in today’s world and what happened to the animals.

  20. I do avoid meat, but not for health reasons; it’s the whole “factory farm” thing that gets to me. BUT I will definitely eat meat when I get it from a reliably humane source. You do have to pay more for it but it’s worth it, both for your health and the animal’s!

  21. Wenchypoo says:

    Most nutrition you point out is lost in cooking–all those vitamins turn to water, then get lost with the application of heat, leaving mostly protein. This is why it is SO important to learn to eat the meat as rare as you can stand it.

    • Good point! Also, eating rare/raw meat can help recalcify your teeth.

      • Stephen Jones says:

        Melissa, the human digestive system is not well-equipped to digest raw meats, I believe. That is probably an evolutionary change that occurred as we began to extensively cook meat. Dramatic evolutionary changes can occur over a “mere” 10,000-50,000 years. As an example, look at the domestication of dogs, that were bred from wolves. A tiny poodle, as well as a huge bull mastif, were both bred from wolves, over a span of many years/generations of course. Make any sense?

  22. The small link to cancer may also be connected to what people are eating with their meat. Is it being consumed with wheat or other toxic grains?

    So much goes into these studies that is over looked. Any study/statistic can be manipulated into achieving the results desired.

  23. Another reason to eat meat is to promote animal suffering. I love eating chickens that were raised in a chaotic, feces-ridden hellhole. I also love it when cows and pigs have their throats slashed while they are still alive. The barbaric nature of it all just fills me with joy!!

    Tasty indeed!

  24. Stephen Jones says:

    The sodium nitrite in processed meats is the main culprit I believe, along with the other factors you’ve already mentioned, Kris.

    Well written, highly respectable article Kris; I enjoyed reading it

    • Hey Stephen,

      I suspect you’re a bit off there, I’m not sure that nitrites are the problem they’re made out to be:

      http://chriskresser.com/the-nitrate-and-nitrite-myth-another-reason-not-to-fear-bacon

      Happy reading, thoughts and questions welcomed…)
      @GeorgeHealthAdv

      • Stephen Jones says:

        Hey George,
        That man doesn’t know what he’s talking about. His references, especially the one about sodium nitrite, don’t even say what he proposes they do.

        There is an abundance of peer reviewed double blind studies that indicate, along with the precursors, nitrosamines are highly carcinogenic in lab animals, and most probably humans. I don’t and won’t eat processed meats that have sodium nitrites because I’ve known too many people that have died from large bowel cancer.

        I am a university educated biochemist and have seen the research. Be careful where you get your information, because everyone’s an expert on the internet… and be careful about the FDA white papers; industry pays them off in ways we can only imagine. Look what Monsanto has done recently!

        Cheers!

  25. Alexandra M says:

    “Another reason to eat meat is to promote animal suffering.”

    Actually, another reason to eat meat is to promote the humane treatment of animals. If many, many people stopped eating meat, it would not make feedlots any less cruel. You might get fewer animals being treated cruelly, but the suffering of individual animals would not be diminished. If demand for meat dropped significantly, the feedlot owners might resort to even more heinous practices in order to reduce costs and maintain profits.

    The way to promote humane treatment of animals is pay farmers and ranchers to treat animals humanely. Let the farmers and ranchers who raise animals on pasture, and practice humane slaughter, know that you’re willing to pay them extra for their product. That’s putting your money where your mouth is. ;-)

  26. Kris,
    Aren’t you concerned about the unhealthy way that meat is produced? If you, personally, are only eating meat that you have seen growing and slaughtered, that is ok for you. However, this article doesn’t warn against the unhealthy nature of the majority of meat produced. Here’s one example: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/04/meat-conover-harpers/

    Thanks,
    Tom.

    • I think humanely raised, naturally fed meat is optimal.

      But I still think that even factory farmed meat is much, much healthier than the processed garbage many people are consuming.

      • I agree. It’s all relative. Even non-meat factory produced food has health risks.

        I don’t see anything in your reasoning above which suggests that factory farmed meat is proven good. We may have evolved to be able to eat meat in a healthy way, but not necessarily today’s way. Factory farming is too recent and continues to change, so evolution and past studies have not kept up.

        Don’t you believe factory farms have potentially largely negative effects on our health when we eat the meat they produce? Over use of hormones, genetic modification (not evolution), antibiotics, poor treatment and other effects of mass production on animals can’t come without some cost.

        • David Jardon says:

          And veggies? What about pesticides and all that chemicals they now use? Should I move to a farm and grow my own food?

        • I don’t think it is unhealthy per se, just not optimal. In the studies I linked to above, most of the people were eating conventionally produced meat.

          There are some thoughts on this here: http://authoritynutrition.com/grass-fed-vs-grain-fed-beef/ – grass-fed is more nutritious and contains more Omega-3s. Nothing dramatic though.

          But all of this is speculation at this point, I don’t think there has ever been a study done comparing the health effects of naturally raised/fed meat vs factory farmed meat.

          Of course… this is universal across the food supply and doesn’t just apply to meat. Even the vegetables and fruits are not what they used to be back in the day.

          • I like your approach. Reading studies and referencing them adds a lot of value to your posts. However, there are valid health reasons for avoiding meat and antibiotic resistance is only one of them.

            Is it possible a bias is influencing your statements? I noticed one of 2 studies your reference supporting your statement of early human meat eating states “This paper argues that meat may actually have been a relatively marginal source of sustenance for early hominids.” Mostly likely, that was accidental oversight.

            However, the fact that research exists contrary to the position you make would be valuable information for your readers. It may be that you are overlooking this data because of a predisposition to find sources that support what you believe and not question it.

          • What research exists contrary to my position? Do you have any actual studies showing that factory farmed meat causes negative health effects compared to naturally fed/raised meat?

            Also, what do you mean by antibiotic resistance being a “health reason” to avoid meat?

            Of course, no one is immune to bias. But I don’t think any bias is clouding my judgement in this particular matter.

            I’ve looked (and cited) a bunch of studies in the article showing that meat is either healthy, harmless or not nearly as bad as it has been made out to be.

            If you are going to maintain the position that meat is unhealthy then you better have some studies to back it up. That is, human studies that are of the same and/or higher methodological quality as the ones I cited in the article.

  27. Hi Tom, I strongly recommend watching the following; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dw1MuD9EP4 on our evolutionary diet before saying meat is bad. If you still contend meat is bad, then please provide empirical research and not opinion to support your claims,

  28. The article to me seems very biased. Meat is acidic in the human body, which leads to inflammatory responses and disease. It is also, too high in protein and fat for optimal health, because we are designed as carb seekers. They also got it wrong to compare us to herbivores, because we are truly frugivore and the fact that we have a couple of sharp canine-like teeth means nothing, as gorillas and other apes also have them, yet more menacing.

    We have no protein taste receptors like carnivorous animals do, so we have to cook and season our meat to really enjoy it. Fruit to us smells, looks, and tastes good without any of that, and also provides b12 (if unwashed from the garden) and plenty of amino acids, and all other nutrients (especially when supplemented with leafy greens), and is not mucus forming or acid forming (disease causing) as animal foods are. There is no need for meat. God bless…

    • I think you need to start seeking information from some other places than vegan blogs/books.

      • Stephen Jones says:

        Hi Kris,
        It brings to mind what I learned a long time ago, regarding the diet of the Tibetan men, who eat meat, but only when they have performed some physical labor. Of course, that makes sense. After some strenous labor, they need a good source of protein.

        A unique aspect of their meal planning that I found quite interesting, is they don’t combine food types in the same meal. Carbs, proteins, and fats are eaten singularly. Any meal only consists of say, meat, or only fruit, or only bread, or only vegetables. Their diet style reminds me of Dr. Pickering’s advice of food combining. Have you read about him or his diet advice?

        From an evolutionary standpoint, our ancestors never had the opportunity to sit down and have a salad, with bread, and then a 3 course meal. They ate a food type, as they could, and “grabbed” what they could, when they could. I’m talking about 10,000 or 30,000 years ago… not 500 or 2000 years ago.

        Peace bro,
        Stephen.

  29. Starting to read, starting to check references — 92% of vegans are B12 deficient? Whoa. Let’s see. Oh, article written in 1982. Relevant.

    Furthermore, B12 is not ONLY found in animal products. It comes from soil/bacteria that the animals eat. Since we wash our produce so extensively, it gets lost.

  30. Johnny Bravo says:

    Quote from article: “When vegetarians are compared to meat eaters that are also health conscious, no difference is found (39).”

    Now ask yourself a question, if there is no health difference between vegetarians and meat-eaters, why should you kill animals???

    Only reason is a habit. Eating meat is like smoking cigarettes: completely unnecessary thing that harms a lot of conscious, sentient beings. Nothing more.

    • David Jardon says:

      Smoking cigarettes is harmful in many and proven ways. I don’t understand your comparison.

    • Part of what she/he is saying is that it is unnecessary to have meat as a part of the diet health wise. Therefore, it is unnecessary for the suffering of animals (sentient beings) for our nutritious food. The reason we still eat it is out of habit, and people like the taste of it.

      Doesn’t mean it is necessary. She compared it to smoking cigarettes because that is also a habit. People like to do it even though it benefits them in no way, it harms them. Many people are unaware of the harm the foods they are eating have on them. And unaware of how great they can feel just with food!

  31. Well said Eva and Johnny, regardless of health I don’t want to eat an animal which has been treated dreadfully and killed just for me to eat when I don’t have to…

  32. Hello!

    Naturally fed meat… so the meat is good because it is fed naturally. And what is natural? Plants! Plant based foods.

    There are so many nutrients in natural foods! Of course there are! And many great natural food is FULL of protein.

    By all means go ahead and eat meat (animals).

    I am not against anyone who eats meat! For myself, I have found the great benefits of eating natural! Feels good, tastes just as good! And nothing is hurt in the process! Yay :)

  33. Dahmir Abinadi Khalil Rasheem says:

    Meat is good. The only downside is that it’s tough on the digestive system. Stay away from the filthy swine. Limit beef and chicken intake. Don’t become a habitual meat eater (multiple meals per day). Eat it about thrice per day, even in large portions if you want. Give your body a break.

  34. I believe that this is a subject view and believe that its based on the fact that you eat meat yourself. If you were vegetarian or vegan I believe this article would be very different as it would be very easy to argue the health benefits of said previous diets. I also noticed you left out one very important fact. Animals have to suffer and die so you can have your tasty lamb chop. Fact is humans don’t ‘have to’ eat meat, supposedly healthy or not.

    • Yes, yup aha, right on the money Jon.

      The thing I want is unbiased information for everyone so they can truly decide for themselves.

      Animals have feelings, they experience a wide spectrum of emotions just like us. From joy to sadness. Hell! For the first time yesterday I saw cows prancing around happy as larry on a farm that loves and respects them and doesn’t kill them for their own profit. Happy cows! No wonder they’re happy, they were free from the world we place them in!

      • As several people have been suggesting, this article is simply not a defense of eating meat and “being proud of it.” It is a defense of the claim that eating (certain) meat is healthy — a claim which I think is probably true. But in order to know whether eating meat and “being proud of it” is something that we ought to do, all things considered, we have to ask not merely whether it has nutrients, and not merely whether it is tasty, but also whether subjecting animals to suffering and killing them to satisfy preferences is acceptable.

        The easiest way to see this is to look at justification #7 from the list: that meat tastes good, “Nuff said.” You know what else probably tastes great, and probably has tons of nutrients which are good for humans? Human meat! Does that mean we should farm people and eat them with pride, ’nuff said? I hope you agree that it does not.

        To be clear, I do not think that eating an animal is in the same moral category as eating a person. I also understand that this is primarily a nutrition website, not a food ethics website. But I believe that this article both reflects and encourages a tendency among many meat eaters to think that if meat is healthy, you ought to eat meat, period. And it is just not that simple. We have to consider animal welfare, and whether it is OK to kill an animal — even painlessly — because it would taste good, or because it would give us certain nutrients (which as far as I can tell, even according to this website, we *can* get in other ways, although it may require using supplements).

        At the end of the day, it is possible that eating meat is both healthy and morally justifiable. But only if both conditions are met should we eat meat “and be proud of it.” And it is far from obvious to me that the second condition is met.

  35. Hi all,

    I haven’t had a chance to read everyone’s posting, but this article is extremely interesting to me and I did enjoy some of the comments I was able to read. My husband and I own a custom meats butcher shop (which means he mostly does the meat cutting for locals that have raised their own beef, pigs, lamb, etc.)

    But we also have a small (but growing!) beef farm where we sometimes do our own butchering for family and friends. Growing up with a father and grandfather who were dairy farmers, I was familiar with the raising of cattle, the amount of work that goes into it, and how important it is to the farmer to raise healthy cattle.

    The transition into actually caring for these beef cattle, however, was quite new to me (although my husband does do 95% of the work!) I hope many of you realize that farming and butchering IS my husbands job, just like many other people out there! Being a graduate of the College of Food, Ag, and Biological Engineering from Ohio State University, I knew tons of people who also raised cattle, and believe me, the last thing they want to happen is for their livestock to suffer a slow death due to injuries, sickness, or labor (this would be for a cow or heifer… females).

    I just want to make it CLEAR to everyone that FARMERS DO NOT HURT THEIR LIVESTOCK! They want the very best for them from when they are born to when they are eventually consumed. I’m sure there are tons of people out there shaking their heads thinking, “This is nothing but a job to these meat-eatting people!” Yes, it is our job. Yes, we do love meat, for many reasons.

    We have worked hard to raise this animal to consume. It does taste good (I do not see anything wrong with saying that because to us, it is the truth). It is packed with proteins (I don’t know about you but that is extremely important to me!) and God put us on this earth to rule all of the fish in the sea, all of the birds in the sky, and all of the livestock on the land.

    As for the grain fed vs grass fed beef, grass fed will tend to be leaner, but it also depends on their amount of activity. Yes, grain is fed to cattle to help “fatten” them up. There are all kinds of demand for beef, I think it’s mostly personal preference. Many people in our area prefer to grain feed their animal (they grow much quicker, less inputs).

    I wish I knew a little more about the science behind the reasoning of why there are arguments against grain fed cattle. From what I do know, however, corn is actually a species of grass! Which makes the argument kind of ironic and funny. So to me, it doesn’t matter between grass or ‘grain’ fed because I know that the cattle are still consuming natural sources of energy.

    And please…

    Remember, no matter what you consume, there was a farmer involved. Whether it was a vegetable, fruit, meat, dairy product, grain, or sweet!

    Thanks for the great article!

  36. The great thing is… I can read your article about meat eating, I can research the benefits of a plant based diet… I am free to make a choice. I choose that no living creature is harmed for my chosen diet. Psychologically, that is a liberating feeling. What a great choice! For me, a no brainer. For meat eating, read Flat Earth. Good luck with your chosen diet, whatever it is. Sleep well tonight!

  37. Your citation (39) doesn’t support the claim you put it after. That study doesn’t say anything about health conscious meat eaters vs. vegetarians specifically.

    • Yes it does, look at table 3. There you see that being a vegetarian (when compared to health conscious omnivores) doesn’t have any benefits for risk of mortality, CVD or cancer, although a slightly higher risk of breast cancer (barely statistically significant, so I didn’t mention it).

      There are also some thoughts on this in the paper, under Discussions -> Associations of Dietary Factors With Mortality.

  38. To those trying to change the topic from nutrition to ethical, personal CHOICE options of not eating meat, this article is clearly not meant to address animal cruelty and whether or not your cow was read a bed time story. Personal preference should be… personal. No need to push your choice on someone else.

    It’s great that you avoid meat because you feel better about not hurting animals. Many people have different beliefs about the purpose of animals on the Earth. Open-mindedness and factually supported research are the best when discussing nutrition (as this article is). Whether it is ethical to hurt an animal in order to feed a human is completely out of place here.

    Rant over. Great article.

  39. This all seems a bit false.

    There have been plenty of studies to show the benefits of vegetarianism by Harvard, the British medical association etc. They found that being vegetarian adds around 13 healthy years to your life. People who are vegetarian are also less likely to suffer from many diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, many forms of cancer, sexual dysfunction, bone diseases and mental difficulties. Also, this article states that vegetarians are often lacking in energy.

    I am vegetarian and have energy in spades as does anyone I know who is a vegetarian. It also helps keep the weight off. I’m sure there are fat vegetarians, but I’ve never met any. I’m not and I drink like a fish. Vegetarianism also has a range of benefits for women, including easing the effects of menopause, giving birth to children that have a lower chance of having allergies and also having purer breast milk with less external toxins.

  40. Kris, here’s another good point:

    When you grow pasture fed beef (not in feedlots, but free range grass feeding cows), you actually work towards reversing global warming, desertification (which is caused by monoculture plantations), and healing the biosphere.

    See, by planting grasses and letting cows feed, you ready the ground for dung beetles to prosper.
    Those dung beetles will flatten the cow’s poop, allowing the grass to grow through the poop.
    When the dung beetles reach a population explosion, you introduce birds and predatory insects to feed on the beetles.
    Then you can even introduce a few top predator birds to feed on the smaller birds.
    And voila, an instant self supporting biosphere.

    And on the other hand, you have monoculture fields, which are sprayed constantly, killing hundreds of thousands of small mammals, birds and reptiles, leaving nothing behind but that single crop.
    That’s quite “humane” and not at all abusive.

    Omnivorism is the more moral choice!

  41. Yes, this article does ignore the ethics of animal slaughter and the ripple effect of how animals other than pets are treated – as a previous post said, sentient creatures that are capable of experiencing happiness, terror, love for other creatures. They are not killed out of necessity i.e. to feed the starving, but to provide an alternative on a menu. To me that is unjustifiable.

    • Alexander P. says:

      So are many plants. Read a study. It’s just that they don’t look quite similar to us that makes you think otherwise which is an arbitrary placement of the moral line which you don’t get to decide on your own any more than any meat-eater.

  42. I found some flaws in your arguments, you might want to strengthen or abandon them.

    (1) First, you say: “The truth is that humans are omnivores” Then, you say: “We function best eating BOTH animals and plants”

    The issue here is that an inherent trait does not necessarily mean it’s a positive trait. For example, human societies inevitably have violence, but human societies do not function best with violence (not equating omnivores with violence, just an analogy).

    (2) You give no support for “Humans have much shorter digestive systems than herbivores and don’t have the specialized organs to digest cellulose, the main fiber in plants.”

    But actually, I agree with you. How is that relevant? I’m assuming you think digesting cellulose would be an advantage, when in reality cellulose (fiber) helps our digestive tract run smoothly.

  43. I became a vegetarian to boycott animal cruelty in factory farms. I’m not opposed to pasture farms with decent farmers, but most of North Americas meat comes from apalling factories. Because so many vegetarians suffer from deficiencies, I first studied nutrition for one year. All nutrients in any meat can be found in plants (sorry Kris but denying that diminishes the credibility of your other proclamations). Herbivores just need to eat a wider variety of foods to receive these nutrients as opposed to beef which is quite nutritious.

    Variety was a surprisingly pleasant result of being vegetarian though, as opposed to 60% of my food being meat based. While organic free range meat is good for you it should only be eaten in moderation, not as abundantly as is common. The same goes for everything else too, moderation and variety are crucial to a balanced diet. While red meat (poultry is included in this category despite not being red) does contain carcinogens, a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet will allow your immune system to easily overcome them.

    Many fruits, grains and vegetables also contain poisons, such as apple seeds, which contain cyanide, but in such a small dose that you won’t be harmed by it (the rare vitamin B17 makes it worth eating them though), and so it goes with all sorts of food. Organic meat is healthy in moderation but not necessary to healthy living.

    A vegetarian diet can be just as healthy when balanced, it also helps to know the symptoms for common deficiencies, and how to solve them. As far as factory meat, it’s generally the result of hormone and gmo fed animals that are crammed in small cages and pens, leading to poor excuses of animals that host breeding grounds for disease and are thus fed with more toxins to repel contamination. Plant farming corporations are equally guilty with genetic modification and pesticides though. So choose your food sources wisely and keep it varied and balanced.

    Pardon my lack of references but scientific ‘evidence’ isn’t as reliable as it sounds, just look at Big Pharma with all their clinical studies that result in lawyer commercials offering collective lawsuits if you’ve ever taken Zantac and suffered any of the following side effects…

    Peace to all creatures.

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