Is Red Meat Really Bad for You?

A few days ago, I shared my New Year’s resolution. In 2012, I’ll limit my red meat consumption to two meals (or fewer) per week. I received a lot of interesting emails from blog buddies – mostly asking, “What’s so bad about red meat?”

In short, nothing. Lean cuts of red meat, when eaten in moderation, can certainly be part of a healthy diet. And red meat is definitely rich in muscle-building protein. But eating red meat each and every day can have a negative impact on the body’s health.

There is a clear link between red meat and heart disease. Depending on the cut and type, red meat can be high in saturated fat – and saturated fat raises blood cholesterol levels. High levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) increase the risk of heart disease.

(It’s worth noting that grass fed beef is lower in saturated fat than mainstream, grain-fed beef. It’s also higher in Omega 3s, vitamins and nutrients. Still, it’s not exactly healthy.)

Beyond heart disease, red meat has also been linked to increased cancer risk in some studies, including one by the National Institutes of Health and AARP. Researchers examined 500,000 participants and found that red meat eaters had a 30% increased chance of dying during the 10-year study. Not surprisingly, these findings have been rejected by the beef industry.

And then there’s the environment. Red meat isn’t just a little bit worse than other food sources in terms of carbon dioxide and other factors that impact the environment, it’s substantially worse. Just look at the attached chart; eating red meat is the culinary equivalent of driving down the highway in a Hummer. According to one study, although beef only accounts for 30% of meat consumption in the developed world, it’s responsible for 78% of the emissions.

When you consider the impact that red meat has on the human body – and the world as a whole – it’s easy to make a good case for eating less of it. And besides, there are plenty of delicious, healthy and environmentally sound alternatives like chicken and turkey.

But since it’s still December 28 and I have a few days until my New Year’s resolution, it’s time for a burger.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. Great article I’ve been wondering this myself and was confused cuz meat is good for u… And that is a very nice picture ;D


  1. […] be significantly healthier with less red meat in our diets. Back in January, I made the decision to limit my red meat consumption to twice weekly. Instead of including red meat as a staple in my diet, it’s more of a special treat - […]