Meat in Our Diet: Pros and Cons
While having a well-balanced, fulfilling diet is a challenge itself for so many of us, especially those who live in everyday’s hustle and bustle of big cities, it has become an even more controversial issue with debates around climate change, animal-friendly lifestyle, regular revision of foods’ nutritional value by scientists and collision of numerous authoritative opinions on the matter. How does one find their best diet in all of it?
Question of whether people must eat meat in order to maintain good health is getting more and more relevant as population of the planet is reaching towards 8 billion. We tend to think that eating meat is essential for human’s well-being, as history lessons at schools of many countries went with stories of ancient tribes hunting mammoths for meat. The thing is, however, that while our ancestors did hunt mammoths and other animals for meat back then, it still counted for about 30% of their annual calories count. Gathering was a far more reliable food source that ensured survival in the end, as hunting and even fishing was a pure luck and ended with nothing quite often. But what does meat give us?
Meat is one of essential sources of protein. Animal protein is irreplaceable, because this is the only food where all amino-acids we need can be found.
Meat packs our bodies with such important elements as iron, zinc and selenium. Moreover, this is the source of crucial vitamin B12 which level vegetarians and vegans have to specifically track and manage with respective food supplements.
In addition to it, meat contains fatty Omega-3 acids, specifically EPA and DHA, required for our body healthy functioning, particularly mood, behavior and cognition. Those can be obtained solely from meat. Besides, human organism has troubles splitting, transforming and absorbing its plant alternative, ALA Omega-3 fatty acid, making getting it from meat more simple and effective.
Also, the fact that our digestive system is clearly able to process meat proves that humans are ‘designed’ to eat it. However, vegetarianism and veganism are movements that derived from ethical questions, thus triggering major reconsideration of what a human’s diet can and should consist of.
Furthermore, eating meat has its cons, too, among those are
Spending more money on food
As meat production is a costly thing, it results directly into high prices we pay for it. Can you recall eating much meat back when you were a student/or if you are one now (just please do not count junk food here!)?
Reducing risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular diseases
Adding to environmental damage
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, emissions from global livestock account for 14.5 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions caused by humanity.
What can one do to contribute to the environment without much sacrifice?
- Reduce general meat intake, starting with beef, as its production results in the biggest carbon dioxide emission. Pork, buffalo meat and chicken follow the line respectively;
- Reduce intake of dairy products, making one’s diet more diverse with help of fruits, vegetables and other plants;
- Promote such diet further.