Benefits of Eating Less Red Meat.

Back in December, I shared my resolution for the upcoming new year: To limit my consumption of red meat to two meals (or less) per week.

Since we’re more than halfway through the year, I wanted to share an update on my progress. I’m proud to say that despite my shoddy New Year’s resolution track record, this is one commitment that I’ve managed to keep. In fact, I’ve decreased my red meat consumption from nearly daily to once or twice per month.

Before I share how it’s changed my life, I’d like to reiterate why this resolution is important to me.

  1. Heart disease. There is a clear and documented link between red meat consumption and heart disease. Depending on the cut, red meat can be high in unhealthy saturated fats which tend to raise blood cholesterol levels and increase heart disease risk.
  2. Cancer. In some studies, red meat has been associated with certain types of cancer.
  3. Overall death risk. According to one study of 500,000 people by the National Institutes of Health and AARP, red meat eaters had a 30% increased chance of dying during the 10 year study. In a separate study at Harvard, researchers found that 9% of male deaths and 7% of female deaths would be prevented if people lowered red meat consumption to 1.5 ounces (or less) per day.
  4. Environment. When you compare the environmental impact of red meat to other foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy, chicken, etc., it’s not just a little bit worse. It’s hugely worse. According to one study, red meat accounts for just 30% of the world’s meat consumption – but it’s responsible for 78% of the emissions.

Instead of the usual burger or steak, I’ve been consuming red meat substitutes and opting for healthier cuts of chicken and turkey. Truth be told, it really hasn’t been difficult to make the transition and I can’t help but notice that my body feels cleaner and more energized.

The difference is most noticeable when I do eat red meat. I’m surprised at how gristly and fatty it tastes – and how sluggish I feel when digesting it. I never seemed to notice how unfavorably my body responds to red meat until I started cutting back on my intake. Because of the unpleasant response that red meat consumption inspires, it’s been very easy to stick with my resolution.

By far, replacing red meat with healthier options has been the best change that I’ve made to my diet in the last year. My only regret is that it took me 29 years to figure it out.

Are you interested in decreasing your red meat consumption? Do you think it’s something you’d like to try? Let me know in the comments below!

About Davey Wavey

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Comments

  1. Definitely am looking to try this! Unfortunately I’m in the navy and I’m currently on deployment stuck on the ship. So there’s a limited amount of choices when it comes to food and red meat is almost always served for meals. But I’m definitely going to try to limiting my red meat intake. You’ve definitely inspired me, as always, Mr. Davey!!!

    • Kieran Monahan says:

      They serve red meat so much, what about chicken/fish/turkey? oh and well done on being in the navy!

    • Yeah, really.. what about vegetarians!? That stinks, I wouldn’t be able to survive!

  2. Kieran Monahan says:

    HI Davey,

    How are you? I usually eat red meat every week maybe two or three times per week, and surprisingly i dont like it as much as chicken or fish. but sadly i live in Ireland and the food choices here are so limited. sometimes this country is so backwards and not developing. especially with peoples mind frame and the general history/culture. im always wishing to be healthier but im lacking the motivation because everyone around is so un-educated in this aspect of fitness, even in gyms or the personal trainers are not great here.

  3. martin kehlmeie says:

    I have not eaten red meat in 30 years! I have not missed it all and have felt great.greatness

  4. So, um…there’s a huge ad alongside this article saying “Steak = good,” with a picture of a juicy slab of rare steak.

  5. I’ve gone semi vegetarian. I eat meat only when I am out to dinner. I had a burger yesterday, and I still feel sick from eating it. Chicken doesn’t affect me that way at all, but red meat really makes me feel gross for 24 hours or so.

  6. That’s how I started off actually, going on what they call a semi-vegetarian diet which basically excludes any red meat from my diet leaving poultry and fish. I’m vegetarian now and have been for 5 years. When I was a red meat eater I was 200lbs or lard and couldn’t get around. Now I’m 145lbs and I walk the dog, go to museums, oh! And my system works sooo much better… if you know what I mean. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So grats to your resolution! It is easier than a lot think to get off of red meat and I think they should follow your example.

  7. Christopher says:

    I would be interested to know if it’s red meat in general that your body doesn’t like, or farm raised red meat animals in specific.

    I’m no scientist, so this is entirely conjecture, but it seems that eating protein from a naturally raised animal vs an animal that has been farmed, and force fed antibiotics, hormones, steroids, etc., might be significantly different.

    Difficult to experiment with though, as the vast majority of red meat available is going to be a product of the meat farming industry. Unless you go hunt it down yourself. Rawr!

    • Hey Christopher! Great points in your comment! It’s VERY true that eating meat from a sick cow, in horrible living conditions, and being forced to eat an unnatural drive consisting for grains and fillers will lead to poor meat quality! The fats in their body turn toxic and that is when you REALLY have to worry! I do eat red meat but only from quality sources and I’m in great shape. I guess it’s all about experimenting and seeing what works best for you.

  8. Red meat is the reason I was diagnosed with colon cancer at 21, or at least that’s what the doctor’s said. Colon cancer is a bottom’s worst nightmare.

  9. Hi Davey, I have recently (about 4 months ago)cut meat out all together. I feel great, but I wanted to know if you recommended any supplements I can take as I am starting to wonder if I am getting enough iron or other things that come from meat and are important.

    Love you Love your show!!!

    Joe

  10. I’m vegetarian. Avoiding red meat really isn’t that difficult. But its nice to know why thats a good thing.

  11. I have almost eliminated red meat from my diet. I only have it every once in a great while, and I too feel how sluggish my digestive system and my body feels after I do eat it. I stick to fish, turkey and chicken,I also eat a lot of veggie burgers. I don’t miss the red meat at all.

  12. While I’m not a vegetarian, the evidence is clear that eating any animal product (beef, chicken, milk, etc) leads to more diseases than going vegan. Out of the top 16 causes of death in America, 15 can be statistically reduced (many prevented altogether) with a vegan diet. Not eating animal products is not linked to any diseases whatsoever.

  13. Josef Gruber says:

    I totally Hate the way red meat tastes! The only problem is that my parents are dead set that red meat has more protein. I keep telling them that you can only process so much at a time but NOOOO that can’t be right. Anyway, just another way to eat healthier and save money in college.

  14. I understand how it could be beneficial for some, but for me I feel that the source is more important. I think red meat regularly could be good if it’s quality local, organic, and grass fed. If there’s contrary evidence I would like to hear more. I usually feel less cravings after eating meat though.

  15. christopher says:

    want to substitute red meat?try bison-ostritch and emu.

  16. I personally loathe red meat, simply for the taste. People still act shocked when I say I don’t like steak. Never did, and never will. So I’ve never had to worry about eating too much red meat ๐Ÿ˜‰

    But come to think of it, we never eat that much red meat here. No one here does. Once every 2 or 3 weeks at most. And when the occasion rises that we actually do, mom always makes something else for me XD

  17. Way to go Davey! I gave up meat 5 or 6 years ago after reading a U.N. report on the environmental costs of beef production. I’ve spent 3 years totally vegan with a year and a half of that as a raw foods vegan… however, at 6 ft. tall and 125 lbs. I decided to relax back into vegetarianism with an occasional foray into seafood. Now I’m at 140 and building up ๐Ÿ˜€ It isn’t about living forever… it’s about feeling great in the years you’ve got left!

  18. one way to cut down on red meat consumption is to try to only eat grass-fed beef, which tastes better and is considerably healthier. most american beef is corn-fed, and cows have been selectively programmed to eat grass, not corn. of course you’ll pay a premium for it. by doing this, you’ll be supporting traditional farming over ‘agro-business’.

    red meat requires a lot of energy to digest so, depending on the cut, it can be a caloric wash.

    Because meats in general are composed of large, intricately arranged proteins (the average steak is about 25% collagen), the average person only absorbs 65-70% of the proteins. This percentage decreases with age. The absorption rate a little higher for hamburger, as the meet is ‘mechanically digested” (i.e. ‘pre-chewed’) prior to cooking. Also, cooking will denature the proteins and make them more digestible (‘bio-available’). However, ‘well-done’ comes at the significant cost of the flavor. It also compromises the other nutrients, especially Iron, which is oxidized from ferrous to ferric and can no longer be used to make red blood cells. A Big Mac is not a significant source of dietary Iron.

    Even with a well-done hamburger, a large amount of partially-digested protein is delivered to the colon. As these proteins have even subjected to caustic chemicals throughout their journey through the gut, they are a significant source of tumor-causing free-radicals. This accounts for the prevalence of cool-rectal cancer in populations which consume a lot of meat.

    Humans are omnivores: just as cows have evolved to be grass eaters, we require some meat — not a lot. Vegetarians have to be very clever if they are going to receive all the nutrients in meat.

  19. Stuffed Steak, diced beef, the odd burger…just cant beat red meat Im afraid. Chicken and turkey is so dam bland. Ive given up sugar, sugary drinks and white foods like white bread and white pasta but I draw the line at red meat ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. I noticed when I lived in a very organic, hippie-friendly community, the red meat mentality was scarce and it was a lot easier to deny a burger or steak. Living in major metropolitan areas have introduced even more meat/meatless options, however, it also has provided never ending iterations for eating beef.

    I once tried eating TVP (textured vegetable protein)…ew! I was curious on your thoughts…if you’ve had it or if you recommend something in addition to chicken and quinoa (my two protein food staples).

    Thanks!

  21. I’ve been red meat free for three years now and I have got to say that for me not eating red meat changed my life. I lost at least 20 lbs right off the bat (though I gained it back…..bummer…..working on it!). And it’s true that after not eating red meat for long periods and then you eat it you feel terrible. I’m 18 now and I think that by the time I turn 20 i will be very close to vegetarian but we’ll see what happens.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Pork Healthier than Beef? October 17, 2012 By Davey Wavey Leave a Comment We know that limiting our intake of red meat can provide some great health benefits, but is pork really a smarter beef […]

  2. […] It’s true that meat is rich in protein. A chicken breast, for example, contains about 36 grams of protein. A hamburger patty has 28 grams. A serving of tuna can have up to 40 grams. The numbers are certainly impressive, but meat products aren’t the only source of protein. And the truth is, most of us could improve our health and longevity by reducing red meat consumption. […]