To Eat Meat or Not To Eat Meat?

vegetarian vs meat eating

A new study just published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states vegetarians have a 32 percent reduced risk of heart disease.1

British researchers are raving about the results from their study that followed nearly 45,000 people over a 10-year span. Subjects lived in England and Scotland. And a third were said to be vegetarians.

This is the largest study to date from the UK comparing the rates of heart disease between the two diets.

Throughout the study participants completed diet and lifestyle questionnaires. And researchers took blood pressure and cholesterol readings to compare the groups.

Researchers found vegetarians had lower blood pressures and cholesterol levels.

“The results clearly show that the risk of heart disease in vegetarians is about a third lower than in comparable non-vegetarians,” said study co-author Tim Key.

But wait… Before you throw out that NY strip for tonight’s dinner let’s take a closer look at the study.

Let’s start with the real figures. Out of all the participants, only 1,066—2.4 percent—were hospital diagnosed with heart disease.2 And only 169 died from it. When you do that math, it drops the vegetarians’ heart disease risk to only 1.7 percent. That’s a big difference from 32 percent.

Let’s dig a little deeper…

For the study, researchers didn’t evaluate what the vegetarians ate. A U.K. vegetarian diet may differ from an American vegetarian diet. Did the U.K. vegetarians eat more fruits and vegetables? American vegetarians rely heavily on cheese, which is loaded with saturated fat.3 One of the very culprits of heart disease. And what did the non-vegetarians eat? A balanced diet with organic meat? Or was it mostly processed meat?

And if we continue to dig…

What about lifestyle factors? The result may possibly be that vegetarians live a healthier lifestyle. Smoke less, exercise more… There are way too many factors in play that make it impossible to say exactly what the direct cause and effect is.

Now, if you’ve decided to go vegetarian for ethical issues, that’s a highly personal decision and an entirely separate discussion. But one thing we can say for sure…

Meat is not bad for you. Look at our caveman ancestors. They didn’t suffer from the health problems that we do today.4 And their diet relied heavily on meat. But not just meat. Fresh, organic meat and fish alongside eggs, tree nuts, and lots of fresh vegetables and fruits.

A study published by the journal Nature provides an answer to this long “which-diet-is-better” debate.5 Researchers studied the tooth enamel from fossils of three different types of early cavemen. They discovered that the group that ate mainly plants died out before the meat eaters.

Bottom line:  If you want a healthy heart, you don’t have to resign yourself to a life of eating lettuce.

It’s not meat that killing us. It’s the junk. So do as our caveman ancestors once did: fresh, organic, and low-glycemic.

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References:
1 http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/01/30/ajcn.112.044073
2 http://blog.aarp.org/2013/02/04/does-going-vegetarian-cut-heart-attack-risk/
3 http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/vegetarians-lower-heart-disease-risk-study-finds-110046252–abc-news-health.html
4 http://thepaleodiet.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Res-Rpts-Clin-Cardiol-2011-Bastos-3.pdf
5 http://now.msn.com/early-human-omnivores-outlived-vegetarians

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Health Topic: Diet and Nutrition | Heart and Cardiovascular

Comments:

  1. William A Pellow says:

    You are pitiful. There are so many studies showing the clear advantages of the vegetarian lifestyle. You need to look at the book “The China Study” where the largest dietary study ever conducted reveals the clear superiority of vegetarianism for heart disease, diabetes, and many other leading causes of disease and death in the USA. Stop confusing the issue. If you have personally decided that you are willing to live a shorter life with more disease, eat meat, but don’t pretend that this is in any way healthy. By the way, all vegans and vegetarians need to suplement with omega 3 and B-12. I use Krill Oil and B-12.

    • INH Research says:

      Please take a closer look at the article. We are simply pointing out the shortcomings of this recent study.

      We definitely do not recommend a diet low in vegetables and fruit and high in processed foods. In fact, that was a point we were making about the study. They did not account for these kinds of variables which can make a huge difference.

      Vegetarianism is a personal decision. We understand that.

      But based on the evidence and several studies we recommend the Paleo/Caveman diet for health reasons.

      In one study it was found that our ancestors had a higher intake of meat which may not have caused an adverse effect on blood lipid profiles (fat in the blood) because of the benefits of high dietary protein and low level of dietary carbohydrate. The study also goes on to state the high levels of fat that our ancestors ate from animal sources were healthy fats that helped inhibit the development of heart disease.

      You can read the study by clicking on the following link:
      http://thepaleodiet.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/chapter-3-Brand-Miller.pdf

      Bottom line: if you eat the right kinds of meat then you too can decrease your risk of heart disease and many other diseases.

      But whatever diet you choose, the most important thing to remember is to always go fresh, natural and organic.

    • Kim says:

      William, you DO realize that krill oil is NOT suitable for vegetarians OR vegans, yes? It’s made from crustacean, and capsules are made of gelatin, which is derived from cartilage of various animals.

  2. Attila says:

    Cavemen are not a good example. Their diet was mostly vegetables and fruit, fresh and uncooked, with only an occasional addition of meat. Few lived beyond age twenty due to their hard lot. How does this prove that a diet low in vegetables and fruits, plenty of heavily processed foods including meats with questionable chemicals and unhealthy fats is good for you?

  3. Robert Brink says:

    “… saturated fat. One of the very culprits of heart disease.” I can’t believe you people wrote that. It is totally contrary to what the leading alternative physicians, such as Dr. Ulfe Ravnskov, Dr. Bruce West, Dr. Al Sears, Dr. William Campbell Douglas III, and Drs. Mary Dan and Michael Eades, and the internationally renowned lipid biochemist Mary Enig, Ph.D., have been preaching for decades — that saturated fat is good for you, has nothing to do with heart disease, and helps you lose weight. Voluminous evidence of this exists. However, you are right that eating meat is healthy. Vegetarians do not live as long as meat eaters. I refer to unprocessed meat and meat without the hormones and antibiotics.

  4. Lois Smith says:

    I was outraged at the comments stated. Flesh food was never intended for humans. Protein is suppose to be it “important” ingredient. Well this will come as a shock but flesh (when cooked) is not utilizable by the human. The condition these animals go thru. Chickens floating in a vat or water w fecal to make them weigh more. Injected w lots of poisons. All cows milk has pus in it because of too much milking. Cheese takes gals.of milk to make 1 slice of cheese & is totally undigestable, it putrifys rots just like flesh food that stays in the stomach 24-48 hrs blocking all other food from passing & digesting. Those “cavemen” built the pyramids, wall of China. They were advanced beyond what we can do now. a few wall paintings doesn’t mean they all lived in caves. A vegetarian means:Nuts,grains, fruits and vegetables (only) that is what the word says. Meat eaters wouldn’t know this but our fecal doesn’t stink it’s sweet smelling. I’m glad a poor animal doesn’t have to die because of me.People have been lied to for too long about meat, just so they can make more $$$. No other reason. Real health retreats get people well from Cancer and diabetes,etc using just raw organic food. Explain that!

  5. christoph says:

    Good points. The veggies will always come out swinging. Just look at the eskimos and the Masai. Long lived and healthy by eating saturated animal fat….only when the “modern diet” was introduced did heart health problems emerge.

  6. krill says:

    Are you including other factors besides the dietary one? Cavemen lived a totally other lifestyle – they were hunters and did a lot of exercise that really helped their health. We cannot blame only pesticides, heavy metals, etc for all the damage. Somebody, somebody?

  7. Roy A Josefsen says:

    I am so tired of “research” making claims for everyone. It is a fact that people have different metabolism and thus meat is “good for me and bad for you”.
    Google Peter D’adamo

    Read what bio-chemist and naturopath Walter Last says on the subject:

    http://www.health-science-spirit.com/contents.html
    (scroll down)

  8. bob fry says:

    I wonder why we have canine teeth. EATING VEGGIES?

    • wolfiesab says:

      I wonder why Gorillas have canines when the closest they come to eating meat is grubs and insects? Have you seen the size of the canines on a giant Panda? They feed exclusively on a diet of Bamboo.

      Your canines don’t resemble anything like a those of a true carnivore. Animals such as Lions and Tigers need their impressive canines and small incisors to tear off and swallow flesh whole.

      Humans on the other hand have smaller canines and larger incisors for piercing the skin of hard fruit such as apples. Then we use our flat broad molars (which true carnivores don’t have)and sideways moving lower jaw to chew food before we swallow it.

      Like it or not your itty bitty canines are for fruit not meat.

  9. LEIGH-ANNE EMAILONLY says:

    I think we can always find studies to support our own view point. The above article seems to highlight this. Like most things, I believe the choice to be an omnivore, pescetarian, vegetarian or vegan is personal and that those who are interested in living a healthy and long life will take measures to do so within the scope of their moral values and beliefs. Bottom line, we all take what we want and apply it as we see fit. I am a vegetarian and have found my health to be far better than those of my non-vegetarian friends and family. However, I am also far more conscious of my health, body systems, stress levels and activity than any of them. My choice to be a vegetarian is based on my predominately on a desire to be healthy (with some ethical and moral justifications).

  10. Kris says:

    “Meat is not bad for you. Look at our caveman ancestors. They didn’t suffer from the health problems that we do today.4 And their diet relied heavily on meat. But not just meat. Fresh, organic meat and fish alongside eggs, tree nuts, and lots of fresh vegetables and fruits.”

    Take the time to think holistically. If you put in diesel (animal flesh) in a gas (plant based) engine, and you also put in gas (plants) to clean it up, you will still be “relatively” clean. Why not skip the diesel (flesh) and put in only clean gas (plants)? Let go of your attachment to the old story, the old culture/customs/traditions that were adopted long ago. It is just a story. Look at human physiology, we are herbi/frugivores. Before we invented tools and technology to kill animals we are unable to kill with our physical nature, we didn’t eat animal flesh. Do no harm. Seeking and desiring peace for others will create peace for yourself. What we put out is what we get back. Murder and violence is not a good karma to put out. Peace and love.

  11. Caz says:

    It’s obvious that you didn’t actually read the study. It would have been nice if you actually took the time to read the abstract (it’s only a couple sentences) before publishing an article on it. For instance:

    “did not differ materially by sex, age, BMI, smoking, or the presence of IHD risk factors.”

    This should answer one of your big points.

    “Let’s start with the real figures. Out of all the participants, only 1,066—2.4 percent—were hospital diagnosed with heart disease.2 And only 169 died from it. When you do that math, it drops the vegetarians’ heart disease risk to only 1.7 percent. That’s a big difference from 32 percent.”

    This paragraph clearly demonstrates that you have no idea how statistics work.

  12. Lydia says:

    Actually, those are not canines. If you would like to compare human physiology to that of carnivores and herbivores, you will realize a very important factor: our teeth are blunt and move side to side when we eat, like herbivores. Carnivores can ONLY move their jaws up and down. So, if you are referring to this tiny little “fangs” that we have, I am afraid you are mistaken.

    Challenge: go outside and use your amazing carnivorous speed to go and catch a squirrel, and then use those impressive canines to tear into its flesh. Then you will have an argument :) and no human “cheating” like using traps or weapons, just your speed, claws, and canines!

    And yes, cavemen are a terrible data. Why opt for historical science when it pales in comparison to the controlled scientific method we can use today? LIKE THE CHINA STUDY, which I would like to point out was done before the days of processed meats and chemicals.

  13. Grace says:

    What about being a pescetarian? You retain a sufficient source of omega 3 and fatty acids, as well as a good protein source. Is this a viable compromise?

  14. chris says:

    whoever wrote this eat’s meat! RED meat leading cause of cancers!

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