There’s just something special about consuming red meat, at least to a majority of the population. Even though the consumption of red meat contributes to higher overall risks of colorectal cancer and other health problems, the research even suggests that it can shorten a life.
The people in a 2012 Harvard study who ate the most red meat tended to die younger, and to die more often from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Red Meat Consumption
People who regularly eat red meat also tend to weigh more compared to those who do not eat it. They also exercise less often, smoke more frequently, and even consume more alcohol. When all of the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle were excluded, however, the mortality association with red meat consumption remained.
- In 2009, the average American consumed 106.3 pounds of red meat.
- 127 pounds. That’s the average amount of red meat that was consumed by Americans in 1980.
- The amount of beef that Americans consume has decreased by over 14 pounds per person over the last 30 years.
- There is a direct correlation between the reduction of beef that is consumed and the amount of chicken that is now consumed.
- For every 7 pounds of poultry that is eaten, 10 pounds of red meat is consumed.
- Beef consumption peaked in the mid-1970s, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, while chicken consumption has doubled since that time.
Although the warnings of red meat consumption are dire and the risks are high, Americans are listening to the warnings. Over the last three decades, red meat consumption has dramatically decreased per person. On average, red meat makes up less than half of all the meat products that Americans are choosing to eat every day. This is encouraging news when it comes to the future health concerns of the general public that so many have for the next three decades.
What Are the Biggest Issues of Red Meat Consumption
- Most people do not realize that 1 serving of red meat is just 3 ounces.
- Having just 1 additional serving of red meat per day, or the consumption of 6 ounces, increases the risk of death by 13%.
- 20%. That’s the mortality risk increase if the extra servings of red meat are bacon, hot dogs, or cold cuts.
- Someone who is at the age 60 and has a 50% chance of dying in the next 25 years would increase their risk of dying in that time to about 57% by including just one extra serving of red meat.
- Cutting the consumption of red meat by 50% is believed to be enough to prevent 10% of the premature deaths that occur in men.
- Substituting nuts for red meat can reduce the risks of a premature death by up to 19%.
Red meat isn’t by itself “bad.” It’s the fact that so many people are eating too much of it that is causing the health problems that are being seen. The average hamburger has more than 3 ounces of red meat in it, which means eating one burger is enough to increase the risk of premature mortality by 13%. This is why the consumption of red meat is a subject that needs to be taken quite seriously. The good news is that simple substitutions can help to reduce this risk dramatically.
Why Are There So Many Risks?
- 22% of the red meat that is consumed in the United States is processed.
- Total meat intake averages 128g per person per day.
- One-fifth of a person’s daily fat intake comes from the consumption of red meat, often in just a single serving.
- Up to 40% of a person’s protein intake in the United States comes from the consumption of animal protein.
- Meat can also be a source of several known mutagens, including N-nitroso compounds.
- Meats that are grilled or charred have an increased risk of stomach cancer in addition to the red meat health risks.
Limiting the intake of red meats and processed meats is a common dietary recommendation, followed up by including or increasing exercise as necessary. Healthy diet options can only take a person so far toward their health goals. 150 minutes of weekly exercise is also recommended to make sure that good health can be achieved. With a little work and knowledge of these red meat consumption statistics, the right changes can be made to make sure preventable deaths can be reduced or eliminated.