The Red (Meat) Scare

Health is important, says everyone. That’s why every 30 seconds, a new diet is whipped up by the National Juicer Society (citation needed).

Jokes aside, the way in which we consume our foods is under constant scrutiny, and for good reason — last week I highlighted how the U.S. has weight issues, so it is reasonable that nutritionists want to work to combat this. Often, this means giving up a beloved food group for the greater good.

Julie Anne Hestenburg, Director of Nutrition at La Salle University, explains that the dietary guidelines put out by health.gov each year are often met with suspicion. Many believe the food industry itself pushes for certain foods to be claimed “healthy.”

“Eat more fruits and vegetables,” said Hestenburg in a class lecture. “We’ve been saying that forever.”

The year of 2015, however, will live in infamy for many proprietors of one food type — red meat lovers.

“It’s this line [in the dietary guidelines’ executive summary] that’s causing come controversy: ‘Health is low in red and processed meat,'” Hestenburg repeats.

Naturally, this is receiving some criticism on the guidelines’ comment section, with cattle owners saying their beef is “leaner than ever before” and “[t]he cattle industry has made tremendous improvements in how we raise healthy cattle to provide a safe, nutritious, affordable and abundant beef supply to the world.”

Both of those are in the same post that has been repeatedly posted on this section, nearly monopolizing the 600 comments dating back to April 10 (this writer was too scared to go back further, for fear of eventual empathy).

But there is actually another reason to cut out the tasty red: impact on the environment.

“This committee chose to also look at environmental issues,” continues Hestenburg.

The one time "greener" doesn't mean "better." Courtesy of the Environmental Working Group.

The one time “greener” doesn’t mean “better.”
Courtesy of the Environmental Working Group.

In order to better sustain the current state of our global environments, we need to cut back on the production of red meat. It takes “28 times more land” to produce red meat than it does pork or chicken. Actually, 40% of all land is used to produce food, and the red meat industry shares a very large portion.

After years and years of relentless research and reports to the public, the world generally knows that greenhouse gases are harmful to the ozone layer. Meat production produces a lot of this, with red meat making more than 5 times emissions than chicken and pork farms.

‘Tis a sad day for red meat lovers everywhere.

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Lasallian Mission extends to food & nutrition | Blog, Over Easy

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