Parallels: Meat

Explore other topics in the Parallels series:

Mindfulness Sex Meat Sleep Water Alcohol Happiness

Do you eat too much?

Good sources of plant protein include nuts, seeds, legumes and soy products. As long as you eat a variety, there is no reason why the quality of protein cannot be as good as a meat and dairy eaters' diet.

One 8-ounce sirloin steak contains nearly all the protein you need in a day but it comes with 10g of saturated fat.

How much protein you need depends on how much you weigh. A 140-pound (63 kg) person needs at least 50 grams of protein each day, while a 200-pound (90kg) person needs at least 70 grams.

Source: Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health

A more plant-based diet could reduce greenhouse gas emissions of the food system by more than half.

Beef is responsible for 41% of greenhouse gas emissions from the livestock sector, which accounts for 14.5% of the total man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

Vegans and vegetarians have lower BMIs on average than meat eaters.

Meat consumption contributes to worldwide obesity rates just as much as sugar, according to one 2016 study.

The way meat is cooked is linked to gastrointestinal health. When cooked over an open flame, like during a BBQ, certain chemicals are formed, which may increase the risk of cancer.

National Cancer Institute, 2017

Increasing the amount of fiber-rich whole grains in your diet can reduce the risk of colorectal (bowel) cancer.

Eating processed meat, such as hot dogs and ham, can cause colorectal cancer.

Adhering to a vegetarian diet can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 40%.

Including red meat in your daily meal plan has been shown to triple the levels of a chemical linked to heart disease.

High blood pressure is associated with an increased risk for conditions like stroke and cardiac failure.

World Health Organization, 2013

Fruit and vegetables are a good source of potassium, which helps to balance out the negative effects of salt and lowers your blood pressure.

Studies have linked beef, veal, lamb, poultry and animal fat to high blood pressure.

A plant-based diet is associated with lower risk of the most common form of diabetes.

Eating processed meat and red meat is linked to an increased risk of death from diabetes.

  1. Start off small: Swap out red meats for healthier options like chicken or seafood
  2. Eliminate processed meats like hot dogs, bologna and salami
  3. Get your protein from plant-based sources, like soybeans and lentils, when possible
  4. Create dishes around vegetables, not meat
  5. Make Meatless Mondays a habit

A digital series exploring the health benefits and disadvantages of a variety of topics.

See more topics!

Editorial Nina Avramova, Katie Hunt

Design and Production Sarah-Grace Mankarious

Development Marco Chacón

Illustration Max Pepper, Ian Berry

Animation Agne Jurkenaite, Kelly Flynn