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New Study: Eating Meat Could Be as Harmful as Smoking

It's time to kick the high-protein habit!

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Having been raised in a vehemently anti-veggie northern English city on a steady diet of chicken nuggets and turkey dinosaurs,  years before Jamie Oliver began to suggest there was anything wrong with feeding kids the components of dog food, I don't expect to reap the benefits of a lifelong healthy diet anytime soon, either. But if it's true that  39% of women report being on a diet "most of the time", and that the average woman spends 31 years on a diet, then we in particular are setting ourselves up for serious middle-aged falls.

Where protein shakes for "bulking up" and adverts that demand to know whether or not a passerby is "man enough" to eat a five-tiered burger have remained masculine domains since time immemorial, the high-protein dieting phenomenon is fairly new for women. The long-term effects haven't emerged in enough numbers to draw definite conclusions, but this latest finding shouldn't be ignored. It is a credible warning about a society currently obsessed with protein and weight loss, operating in meat production hyperdrive with some of the most accessible fast food that ever existed.

Ultimately, it makes no difference whether you did it for the love of fluffy lambs in spring or deep-seated narcissism combined with a fierce survival instinct: the fact is you should probably eat less meat. You may well have to face a couple of awkward questions over a bowl of hummus, but hey, we all have our crosses to bear. And so, for the love of the NHS, please consign your well-thumbed paleo book to the dustbin. Because it turns out that you may be taking its simpering promises to make you thinner literally at your own peril.