Joel spoke to Health-iQ about how to reduce our red meat intake – see the article here.
Nutrition professionals have been lauding the benefits of plant-based foods for some time now. That’s because numerous studies suggest that a high intake of red meat, especially processed red meat, is associated with an increased risk of mortality and major chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease and colorectal cancer.
According to a World Health Organisation report in 2016 bacon, sausages, processed meats and red meat all cause cancer. The authors went as far as ranking processed meats and red meat alongside tobacco and alcohol as being carcinogenic. This seems a long bow to draw.
However, the link was based on studies suggesting that eating an additional 100 grams of red meat a week increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 17 per cent. Additionally, the authors reported that 34,000 cancer-related deaths a year worldwide are directly related to a high intake of processed meat.
It’s enough to put you off your juicy steak.
But don’t despair, you can still enjoy red meat. After all, it is a wonderful source of nutrition. It is high in protein, iron, B12 and zinc. A small, but regular intake of lean meat as part of a balanced and nutritious diet can help to promote health. According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines, we should be including a small amount of red meat in the diet, if we choose to include meat.
Nevertheless, including more plant-based foods like tofu, tempeh, whole grains, legumes and beans, nuts and seeds and, of course, fruits and vegetables are the cornerstones of a healthy diet. Studies continually show that a high intake of these foods leads to better health, a reduced incidence of nasties like heart disease, diabetes and cancers, and assist with weight management. And a dietary pattern like this is better for the environment. Nevertheless, we don’t need to solely eat a plant-based diet, but we should be more plant-focussed.