How Much Red Meat Should We Really Be Eating?

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Red meat has long been a favourite food across many different cultures and cuisines. Our relationship with meat, and red meat, in particular, is changing. With the global demand for meat going up as populations grow rapidly in developing countries, we’re reaching a critical moment.

CDA recently made an infographic which looks into the world consumption of red meat. We wanted to touch on this and look at how red meat affects our health. We’ll be looking at how red meat affects our personal health, but also the health of our environment.

Red meat is:

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Veal
  • Goat
  • Venison

How Red Meat Affects Your Physical Health

Red meat has long been linked to heart disease and other serious health conditions. But perhaps most importantly, it is ranked as a Group 2A carcinogen. Red meat has been linked to various types of cancer including bowel cancer and colorectal cancer.

For what it’s worth, red meat is high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. A 3.5oz steak will have a quarter of your recommended daily amount of Vitamin B3 and nearly 40% of your daily amount of Vitamin B12.

Read: Best Food for Anxiety

However, there are some profoundly negative effects on your health from red meat. This is particularly when you include processed red meat e.g bacon, sausages, salami, jerky etc. Unprocessed red meat would be something like a lamb shank or a steak.

Processed red meat is as likely to give you cancer as smoking tobacco. Processed meats are a Group 1 carcinogen, which is the most lethal group. This means there is sufficient evidence to suggest that consumption causes cancer. Processed red meats are also heavily linked to heart disease, diabetes and death.

Unprocessed red meats aren’t as prolifically bad for your health. A review of 20 studies that included over 1.2 million people found that whilst the awful health effects of processed red meats are pretty much clear as day, the same effect wasn’t found in unprocessed red meat.

There are issues with how the studies are conducted however and a pattern doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the cause. But there’s enough evidence out there to suggest that we really need to think about how much of it we are eating.

One thing is for sure, and that’s processed red meats should really be avoided. Bacon is a cherished food, but really we need to start ditching it. Let’s reiterate that eating bacon and other processed meats is as likely to cause cancer than smoking tobacco. But people still smoke, so people will still eat bacon. Just make sure you’re eating it in moderation.

The best thing to do with red meat, that isn’t scrapping it altogether, is to adopt the Mediterranean diet approach to red meat. Which is to have unprocessed red meat as a treat, about twice a month. This is a healthy approach to red meat if you really can’t bear the thought of scrapping it altogether.

The Environmental Impact of Red Meat

A lot of noise has been made recently about our meat consumption and how it relates to the environment. With the existence of man-made climate change beyond any form of reasonable doubt, we need to be frank about how our demand for meat is playing into that.

The scientific consensus on climate change being man-made is at 97%. That means, of all the scientists whose job it is to look at the effects of climate change, 97% of those people have reached the conclusion it’s man-made. It’s very hard to find that level of consensus in the scientific community, where there is a strong culture of trying to disprove anything anyone says. It’s only when you can find no possible way to disprove it that you agree. This means we have to assess our own human habits.

The problem with meat consumption is that it takes an awful lot of resources to cultivate, especially red meat, and especially beef. Beef produces seven times more carbon dioxide per gram of protein than poultry, for example. Producing 100g of protein of beef emits 105kg of greenhouse gases. 100g of protein from nuts emits 2.4kg.

If you’re trying to be environmentally minded then you can still enjoy red meat. However, for the biggest impact on the environment, you need to go vegan. Eliminating any animal products from your diet drastically reduces your carbon footprint. However, even just going flexitarian can reduce your carbon footprint by nearly 60%.

‘Flexitarianism’ is the name given to a diet that consists mostly of plant-based foods, with meat eaten in moderation. People do this by not eating meat every other day, only eating meat at the weekend etc. It’s a really good way to not only reduce your carbon footprint but to eat healthier! 

Eco-Friendly Office: 10 Small Things You Can Do at Work to Help the Environment

Lots of people are seriously turned off by veganism. And to be honest, there are some bad vegans out there that are giving it a bad name but by and large, vegans want to reduce their environmental impact, eat healthier, and they feel great compassion for animals. Compassion for animals and health aside, when you actually contextualise the environmental cost of meat, it becomes very hard to ignore.

Consider this. You plan on having a single beef burger for your lunch. Did you know that the amount of greenhouse gas that has been emitted to put that single beef burger on your plate is as much as if you were to drive a petrol car for 200 miles? Neary 1,700 litres of water has been used to bring that single burger to your plate. That’s more than a month’s worth of daily showers. That’s as much water as you use flushing the toilet for SIX months.

This is why beef should only be eaten as a rare treat, if at all.

how much red meat infographic

If the health effects of eating red meat aren’t enough to get you to reassess how much you’re eating then at least consider the environmental cost of it. Can we really afford to keep our meat consumption this high? Will there be a world left for our future generations if we do?

One thought on “How Much Red Meat Should We Really Be Eating?

  1. Science and Climate Change

    The Main Stream Media trumpets (almost endlessly) that the science regarding climate change is “settled” as evidenced by 97% of climatologists who have reached a “consensus” about anthropogenic (human-induced) global warming. What the press does not stress is that this like-mindedness among these experts is based almost entirely upon computer simulations (GCMs or climate models) and not on any significant experimental data or evidence. Even more distressing is that many (most?) climate advocates see the current scientific findings as fixed and they reject out of hand any actual contrary research results.
    Any historian of science will quickly belie this unsound position. A couple of solid examples should suffice to dismiss this misbegotten belief. During the late 19th century the entire scientific community accepted as fact the necessary existence of a “luminiferous ether” through which photons from the Sun traveled to reach the Earth. Then in 1887 Michelson & Morley of Case Western Reserve conducted a single experiment that showed that no such “ether” existed. Thus, all the prior evidence and belief was discarded. [Note: Interestingly, it was M&M’s research that set Einstein on his search concerning relativity.] The bottom line is that the 97% “consensus” concerning the “settled” science regarding the existence of a luminiferous ether was wrong.
    Another excellent example is “continental drift”. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, virtually every scientific expert insisted that the position of the Earth’s continents was fixed. This scientific conclusion was based upon the observation that although granite existed on the continents, the seafloor seemed to be composed of denser basalt, and the prevailing concept during the first half of the twentieth century was that there were two types of crust, named “sial” (continental type crust) and “sima” (oceanic type crust). Furthermore, it was supposed that a static shell of strata was present under the continents. In 1947, a team of scientists using an array of instruments confirmed the existence of a rise in the central Atlantic Ocean and found that the floor of the seabed beneath the layer of sediments consisted of basalt, not the granite which is the main constituent of continents. They also found that the oceanic crust was much thinner than continental crust. All these new findings raised important and intriguing questions.
    Beginning in the 1950s, scientists using magnetic instruments (magnetometers) began recognizing odd magnetic “striping” across the ocean floor. After the maps with this “zebra pattern” of magnetic stripes were published, the connection between seafloor spreading and these patterns were correctly linked to patterns of geomagnetic reversals. Again, the 97% “consensus” regarding the “settled” science of fixed continents had to be discarded.

    Anthropogenic (human-induced) climate change has been falsified

    In 2014, a group of Chinese researchers found evidence suggesting that the current warm phase of a 500 year cycle could terminate over several decades, ushering in a 250-year cool phase. Then on July 3, 2019, Science Daily announced that new evidence suggests that high-energy particles from space known as galactic cosmic rays affect the Earth’s climate by increasing cloud cover, causing an “umbrella effect.” When galactic cosmic rays increased during the Earth’s last geomagnetic reversal transition 780,000 years ago, the umbrella effect of low-cloud cover led to high atmospheric pressure in Siberia, causing the East Asian winter monsoon to become stronger. This is evidence that galactic cosmic rays influence changes in the Earth’s climate. “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has discussed the impact of cloud cover on climate in their evaluations, but this phenomenon has never been considered in climate predictions due to the insufficient physical understanding of it,” stated lead investigator, Professor Hyodo. “This study provides an opportunity to rethink the impact of clouds on climate. When galactic cosmic rays increase, so do low clouds, and when cosmic rays decrease clouds do as well, so climate warming may be caused by an opposite-umbrella effect. The umbrella effect caused by galactic cosmic rays is important when thinking about current global warming as well as the warm period of the medieval era.”

    Subsequently, on Aug. 11, 2019, it was reported that a new study had found winters in northern China have been warming since 4,000BC. The study found that winds from Arctic Siberia have been growing weaker, the conifer tree line has been retreating north, and there has been a steady rise in biodiversity in a general warming trend that continues today. It appears to have little to do with the increase in greenhouse gases which began with the industrial revolution, according to the researchers. Lead scientist Dr. Wu Jing, from the Key Laboratory of Cenozoic Geology and Environment at the Institute of Geology and Geophysics, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the study had found no evidence of human influence on northern China’s warming winters. “Driving forces include the sun, the atmosphere, and its interaction with the ocean,” Wu said. “We have detected no evidence of human influence.”
    Then the web site,, on Nov. 6, 2019, cited three papers from the Federal University of Sao Paolo, Brazil which partially affirm the studies from Japan and China. This research insists that “The composition (of marine) sediments carried by rivers from the mainland to the ocean can be used as a basis for calculating variables such as temperature, precipitation, and marine salinity. In the context of ongoing global climate change, the study of the past is fundamental to validating the accuracy of the climate models used to make predictions.”
    The world-famous philosopher of science, Karl Popper, insisted that to be a valid scientific theory any hypothesis must be falsifiable. This includes the widely held conjecture of anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change. In short, a single set of scholarly findings that is not explained by the premise of man-made global warming which is attributable to the burning of fossil fuels can falsify this entire body of scientific speculation and this has now occurred. Today, six peer-reviewed scientific papers that were conducted by six separate groups of expert investigators from four different universities in three separate countries and which have all been published in eminent peer-reviewed scholarly journals have found no evidence to support the assertion regarding human-induced climate change. Instead, all six groups independently found that the warming that has happened was almost entirely attributable to galactic cosmic rays that affect the quantity of the Earth’s low hanging clouds. These expert investigators call this canopy or blanket the “umbrella effect”. The bottom line is that the entire climate change hysteria has now been falsified and is untrue. These six experimental results have shown that the IPCC and its computer simulation models (GCMs) are not valid.


    For those who require links here are six:…

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