Beef was the first thing to get cut from my diet as I was transitioning to veganism, but apparently pork is considered red meat too. Considering that I grew up with those commercials deeming it "the other white meat," this revelation came as a surprise. It also makes me more leery of advertising and the power that they have over public perception.
A recently published study examined over 110,000 people and their consumption of red meat (from cows, pigs and lamb) as well as other dietary choices. The research started all the way back in 1976, and takes other factors into consideration such as lifestyle, family history, and overall health. Using medical records and death certificates, physicians and statisticians analyzed and reviewed tons of data.
The results determined that those who ate as little as one serving of red meat per day showed a 13 percent increase in risk of death. If the meat was processed (think bacon or hot dogs), the mortality rate increased to 20 percent. Evidence shows that the consumption of meat, especially red meat, is associated with increased risks of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer. It is possible that the cancer is caused by carcinogens formed during the cooking process and not the actual meat itself. However, given the cases of E. coli poisoning and other parasites resulting from under-cooked meat, eating it raw is not a valid option.
Some say bacon is the gateway meat that causes vegetarians to give up their plant based lifestyle. Well I say let's all eat tempeh bacon instead! We'll live longer and save some adorable animals in the process.
Photo credit: Corrupted Development