The Secret’s Out: The Reason Red Meat is So Bad for Our Health


We’ve known red meat isn’t the healthiest choice for a long time now. It’s a leading cause in heart disease, inflammation, cancer, and even digestive problems. While its highly touted by meat-lovers as being a good source of iron, (though we know there are better sources), the truth is, red meat is not a healthy food. But what is it about red meat that’s so bad?

Scientists at the University of California Found The Secret

Researchers at the University of California found that meat triggers a toxic reaction within the body that weakens the immune system due to a natural sugar it contains our bodies can’t digest. Yes, you heard that right – meat actually has a natural sugar, as small as it may be. Known as Neu5Gc, this sugar is a foreign agent to our body that is seen as an invader.

The body launches an immune response as it tries to get rid of it and in the mean time, a host of health problems occur, such as cancer (which is largely a disease of a weak immune system). The unique findings are that other carnivores can eat red meat fine because their bodies actually contain the natural sugar that digests the meat. Our bodies don’t – clearly a sign that we’re not meant to eat it.

Meat and Tumor Production

The sugar, Neu5Gc, is already in the body of other carnivores that consume meat for food. Mice (who don’t contain the sugar as we don’t) were fed meat and actually developed tumors quickly.

“This is the first time we have directly shown that mimicking the exact situation in humans increases spontaneous cancers in mice,” said Dr Ajit Varki, Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of California. ”The final proof in humans will be much harder to come by.”

We don’t think we need more proof to go meat-free, do you? Meat has led to a host of negativeenvironmental and health factors for years. Harvard University found that a diet high in red meat raised the risk of breast cancer for women by 22 percent, and found those who regularly ate 5.6oz (160g) of red meat a day had one third higher risk of bowel cancer.

These studies provide more proof that meat really isn’t a healthy choice. If our bodies don’t see meat as a welcomed food, it’s time to stop eating it once and for all.

For tips to go meatless, check out: 13 Meatless Monday Meals for the Beginner Cook.

Lead Image Source: Rpavich/Flickr

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