Magazine article Sierra

Flesh Wounds

Magazine article Sierra

Flesh Wounds

Article excerpt

There are two excellent reasons to stop eating meat: your own well-being, and that of the planet.

Many studies show that a diet high in flesh, especially beef, pork, and lamb, increases the risk of heart disease and several cancers, especially those of the breast, prostate gland, and colon. A study published last July in the British Medical Journal compared the health of 6,000 vegetarians and a similar number of their omnivorous friends and relatives. The vegetarians' death rate from heart disease was 28 percent lower, and they had 39 percent fewer deaths from cancer.

The most troublesome fat for your health is the saturated variety. Saturated fats lurk in whole-milk dairy foods - cheeses, butter, ice cream - but red meats are still the nation's major source. Even lean red meats can contain more fat than many nutrition authorities advise eating.

Meat's fat content and the downside of a high-fat diet may seem like yesterday's news. But meat does more than clog our arteries. It takes such a tremendous toll on our land and water that even if you're not counting milligrams of cholesterol, you might want to pass up that burger in favor of a fresh salad and a hearty bowl of lentil soup.

About 50 percent of the land in the United States is devoted to agriculture; approximately 80 percent of that is used for grazing or growing feed. The situation is similar in the tropical rainforests, where more than a third of the 150 acres of jungle cleared each day are used for large-scale cattle ranching. …

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