Meat isn’t that bad for you

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Ridhima Kodali

The negative aspects of eating meat can be offset with a balanced diet.

Ridhima Kodali, Opinion Editor

“Eating just one egg a day is equivalent to smoking five cigarettes a day. The leading source of sodium in an American diet is chicken.” When I heard that while watching “What the Health” on Netflix, I was aghast. I mean, they were talking about the same egg and chicken that is loaded with so many vitamins and nutrients, so I decided to become vegetarian for a healthy lifestyle. There have been multiple studies that show adopting a vegan/vegetarian diet is much healthier. But in my case, my try at it only lasted about a week. I couldn’t bear the fact that I couldn’t eat meat. Although there has been some research on how both eggs and animal products could be harmful to the human body, with a balanced diet I have decided, for me, that eating meat isn’t all that bad.
As mentioned above, research did show how animal products can be harmful to the body. An intake of animal products can increase the risk of conditions and disease, those of which include: cancer, diabetes and dementia. Keep in mind, eating too much meat can increase the risk of developing conditions and diseases. If you have a balanced diet there will be a lower risk of you developing conditions and diseases.
A balanced diet is crucial for a healthy lifestyle. What a healthy, balanced plate looks like: ½ of your plate consists of vegetables, and fruits, ¼ of your plate consists of whole grains, and another ¼ consists of protein. Consuming meat such as chicken/poultry especially with a diet rich in vegetables can minimize your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular-related diseases, and obesity. Consuming eggs, which are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, reduce the risk of developing heart disease, major benefits for eye health, and more. Consuming dairy, such as milk, can help with improved bone health, as well as providing important nutrients which are vital for the maintenance of the human body.
For the human body we need vitamins, specifically B12, A, and D. These vitamins are beneficial for helping us maintain our nervous system, formation of our blood cells, bone health, vision and immune system. They mainly come from “animal-sourced” products, like milk, oily fish (e.g. salmon), and chicken.
Many people switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet to obtain a healthier lifestyle, but that isn’t necessary for all. If done the right way (vegetarian/vegan diet), there are many benefits. Those of which include: a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, lower blood levels and an improvement of the function of your kidney. When I was vegetarian for a week I felt very tired, maybe because I’ve been eating meat my entire life, and I haven’t been used to being vegetarian my whole life. Taking that “part” out of my diet wasn’t a gradual change, it was just at an instant. According to the BBC, “A recent analysis, which pulled together the results of 10 previous studies comparing the health of vegetarian and vegans against that of omnivores, suggests it will.” Researchers then found a vegetarian or vegan is healthier( reduces risk of heart disease and cancer) but it doesn’t ensure you are living a longer life.
Also, vegan and vegetarian diets are hard to maintain for lower-income families. Yes, they are healthier, but they can be very expensive. For instance the average retail price of Impossible meat (vegan /vegetarian friendly) per pound is about $10, what a hefty price for just a pound of meat. Versus real-meat patties which cost about only $3. In a Harvard health publishing article, it is revealed: meatless burgers are processed, high in saturated fat and sodium. Also, according to the article “Producing the newer, plant-based burgers requires considerably less water and generates substantially less greenhouse gas emissions compared with traditional beef burgers. This is certainly an important consideration for the well-being of our planet, but they may not be the best option for the health of our bodies.” However, meatless burgers are highly nutritious, and offer 0 milligrams of cholesterol and are rich in fiber unlike real-meat burgers.
So should you stop eating meat? — Not at all.
Should you have to switch to a completely new, different diet?— No.
You can have close to just as healthy a lifestyle as a vegetarian/vegan diet with a balanced diet with meat. Try to cut down processed meat, eat lots of fruits and vegetables. After all, for a balanced diet, half of “your plate” should be fruits and vegetables. The bottom line is meat isn’t all that bad if you incorporate it into your diet the right way, and try to find a way to balance with vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
At the end of the day, we should all eat what we want to eat, and we should all try to live the healthiest life possible.