When it comes to agricultural pollution, few sources compare to what the beef industry emits annually. But if eco-friendly consumers needed another reason to refuse red meat, it’s the findings of a recent Harvard study that links the food source with 10% of early deaths in the industrialized world. In particular, consuming steak can increase the risk of early death by 12%.
When most people think about ways to go green, they tend to conjure up images of solar panel installations and driving hybrid vehicles. But of all the lifestyle changes that would result in more eco-friendly living, a conversion to a meatless diet is an option most people overlook or choose to ignore altogether. This is most unfortunate, considering the environmental impact of the American meat industry.
Yet, it appears as though the environment is not the only incentive behind a push to reduce red meat consumption. In addition to the ecological benefits, the recent Harvard findings seem to indicate that lowered red meat intake would greatly increase a person’s chances of surviving into their sixties, seventies, and even into their eighties. It seems that all around, meat is a most inviable food source.
But no matter how much evidence is presented for the ecological and dietary dangers of our love of meat, Americans continue to spend an average of $142 billion on beef, chicken, lamb, pork, and turkey every year. Are we dealing with a bad habit or a full-on addiction?
As far as the Harvard researchers are concerned, the saturated fats and high levels of sodium are what’s to blame when it comes to the potentially lethal consequences of consuming red meat, followed by the portions involved.
By cutting back on the amount of processing and therefore treating of the meat we eat, as well as the portions of the meat we end up consuming, both problems could be solved at once. We would take steps to lower the impact of the meat industry on the environment, while helping to reduce the amount of early deaths associated with eating red meat. Relatively speaking, this sounds like a pretty easy set of goals to achieve.