To Meat or Not To Meat? That Is The Question
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” Albert Einstein couldn’t have said this any better The Great Planet Official Store . The only problem, we’re not listening to his advice.
This probably isn’t a good time of the year to write an article about the effects of eating animal products, but I can’t help notice all the stores fridges and freezers stuffed full of fresh and frozen meats all ready and waiting to make their way to the dinner table. Heck, I practically can’t walk into the grocery store without being asked if I’d like to try the latest burger or slider or some other type of flesh food they’d like to sell me on. It just makes me shudder to think of what we’re doing to not only our health, but also the planet with all this meat mankind is now consuming.
A century ago, the diet of the average person was based on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains products. However many people were not receiving enough nutrition most likely due to their economic status, and many people were developing deficiency diseases. In the early 1900s, food policies changed and were now directed towards eliminating these deficiency diseases. For the less fortunate and undernourished people, adding meat and milk to their diet made a huge difference. Not only that, but studies showed that children who were small for their age, grew faster when given more animal products. As a result, these foods were given special status and governments offered large subsidies to farmers in an effort to increase production. These subsidies also supported intensive marketing initiatives as well as massive nutrition education campaigns to insure increased consumption. Nutritional deficiency diseases quickly decreased, and the interest of animal agriculture was becoming well established in the economy. It began looking as though the job of improving the health of the nation, with the addition of meat and dairy in the diet, had been accomplished.
However, what was discovered by the middle of the twentieth century was a less favorable health picture. Although deficiency diseases were no longer the threat they had once been, heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and obesity were on the rise, and the authorities were baffled. Science could not explain why these serious health conditions were on the increase.
It wasn’t until 1990 that the World Health Organization (WHO) commissioned a panel of nutrition experts from around the world to sort through the existing research and assess the evidence linking diet to disease. Their results were clear. Less whole-milk dairy products, fatty meats and refined sugar, and more vegetables, fruits, cereals and legumes. In the later part of the decade, more and more health organizations joined together to develop and endorse one set of dietary guidelines. Their message was just as clear. Most of what you eat should come from plant sources.
Although governments, health organizations and officials are all aware of this, and encourage the public to increase the amount of plant foods they eat, there remains a great hesitation to tell people to cut back on their consumption of animal products. Sure they tell us to cut back on saturated fat and cholesterol. But aren’t animal products the primary source of these harmful dietary substances? This is where the buck stops…or I should say, doesn’t stop.