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7 Diseases That Big, Juicy Steaks Could Give You

We know meat isn't necessarily the most healthy dietary choice; it could also be a fatal one.
 
 
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More and more people are passing on meatfor a wide variety of reasons. For starters, it reduces your impact on the planet. Some simply can't bare the despicable factory farming industry in this country. And the third weighing issue on the minds of the more than 2.8 percent of the U.S. population that considers themselves vegetarian, are health issues. And studies show that there are plenty of them.

Sicknesses Associated With Eating Meat

1. Prostate Cancer

According to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology, researchers examined the dietary habits of 175,313 middle-aged men and followed them for nine years. They discovered that men who ate a diet heavy in red meat and processed meats were diagnosed with prostate cancer more often than men who ate little meat. "HCAs, a family of mutagenic compounds, are produced during the cooking process of many animal products, including chicken, beef, pork, and fish," the article said. And this is not reserved for a well done steak. The mutagens form when meat is cooked at a normal level and it is present in grilling, frying, or broiling. It appears to grow worse as the meat is cooked longer. In the end, the consumption of meat increased the risk of prostate cancer by 12 percent.

2. Heart Disease


More than 864,480 Americans died of heart disease in 2005, according to the American Heart Association. And according to a study at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (a teaching hospital for Harvard), heart disease is directly related to meat consumption. The study involved 617,119 men and women who were 50 to 71 years old at the start of the study. At the beginning of the study, patients filled out diet information surveys and 10 years later deaths from cardiovascular disease were noted.

Results of the Study:

"Compared to people in the lowest levels of red meat consumption (average 0.32 ounces per 1000 calories), men with the highest levels of red meat consumption (average 2.39 ounces per 1000 calories) experienced a 27 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

For women with the highest levels of red meat consumption (average 2.32 ounces per 1000 calories) the results were even more dramatic. They experienced a 50 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease."

3. Osteoporosis


A group of studies done at the Cornell-China-Oxford Project on Nutrition Health and Environment, by nutritional biochemist T. Colin Campbell and his colleagues, links bone density with meat consumption. The less meat that you eat the less you'll experience a loss in bone density as you age. Osteoporosis is a reduction in bone density that occurs as we age and in turn causes bone fractures and breaks in older individuals. The disease impacts 25 million Americans, 80 percent of whom are women. According to Campbell, the study is a great explanation for why Americans, who include more calcium in their diets than Asian cultures, have five times the rate of osteoporosis compared with many Chinese and other Asians. Our much larger meat consumption rate is working against us.

4. Kidney Stones


Kidney stones are deposits that form in your kidneys in varying sizes. They are a common problem, but can be super painful. Kidney stones range in size from that of a grain of sand to the size of a marble or larger. According to Physicians Desktop Reference, foods that are high in protein, such as meat could, "encourage the formation of kidney stones."

5. Food-borne Illnesses


Food-borne illnesses have been swirling through the news all year long and it hasn't been pretty. The New York Times wrote that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, poultry is the number one source of food-borne illness. It doesn't matter how much antibiotics they pump into an abused chicken population because even still up to 60 percent of chickens sold at the supermarket are infected with live salmonella bacteria.

6. Pancreatic Cancer


High intake of dietary fats from red meat and dairy products is associated with a higher risk of pancreatic cancer, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

"[W]e observed positive associations between pancreatic cancer and intakes of total, saturated, and monounsaturated fat overall, particularly from red meat and dairy food sources," the authors write. "Altogether, these results suggest a role for animal fat in pancreatic carcinogenesis."

 

7. Type 2 Diabetes in Women


A study done on women by the American Diabetes Association, found that there was a positive relationship between meat consumption and instances of Type 2 Diabetes. The study documented 1,558 recorded cases of Type 2 diabetes. After adjusting for age, BMI, total energy intake, exercise, alcohol intake, cigarette smoking, and family history of diabetes, "our data indicates that higher consumption of total red meat, especially various processed meats, may increase risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in women."

Sara Novak is a writer specializing in food, travel, and nature for Planet Green and TreeHugger.
 
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