Meat Free Monday One day a week can make a world of difference

Why halving meat consumption could save your life

new report suggests that if Britons halved their consumption of red and processed meat, thousands of deaths from cancer, diabetes and heart disease could be prevented

Posted : 17 September 2012

Researchers from Cambridge University’s Institute of Public Health used responses to questions about meat-eating in the 2000-2001 British National Diet and Nutrition Survey to work out how disease patterns might change if consumption dropped. They found that:

If British men consumed 53g of red and processed meat daily – rather than the current average 91g – then the incidence of bowel cancer would drop by 12 per cent, Type 2 diabetes by 12 per cent and coronary heart disease by 10 per cent.

If British women (who eat less meat generally) consumed 30g of red or processed meat a day – rather than the average 54g – then incidences of bowel cancer, diabetes and heart disease would fall by 8 per cent, 7.5 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.

The researchers have also calculated that a 50 per cent cut in meat-eating would reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by 3 per cent, arguing that “dietary recommendations should no longer be based on direct health effects alone”.

The goal of the research was to assess “potential co-benefits to health and the environment from reduced [consumption of] red and processed meat… a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions… high intakes of these food increase the risks of several leading chronic diseases.”


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