Nutrition and DietThe whole truth about the health effects of meat

The whole truth about the health effects of meat

Do you eat red and processed meat (cold cuts and cold cuts) regularly? Perhaps you should discover what are the real effects that eating meat causes on your body and your health. Are these.

It was in October 2015 when the debate on the consumption of processed meat and the risk of contracting cancer began in practically the whole world, will include in Group 1 (with a higher risk of contracting cancer) the excessive consumption of processed meats, among which we find sausages and cold cuts.

In fact, other compounds or substances known for their great carcinogenic power also belong to this same category, such as, for example, asbestos or tobacco. Although, yes, the experts clarified that “it does not mean that they are just as dangerous.”

Similarly, IARC experts included in Group 2A as “probably carcinogenic” the excessive consumption of red meat, among which are beef, pork and sheep.

Despite this, the current society in which we live is increasing the consumption of meat, which increases considerably thanks precisely to greater accessibility and the increase in the purchasing power of many citizens.

In fact, as many nutritionists believe, it is being verified how the population tends to consume a greater amount of foods rich in protein, to the detriment of starches such as rice or pasta (especially in their integral variants).

Although many of those who defend the consumption of meat advocate the very history of human evolution, arguing that “not only with vegetables did man reach our days”, the truth is that today the number is increasing. From scientific studies that confirm – and warn – that eating meat would not be as beneficial or safe as is thought.

An example is what happens with the scientific assessment that the IARC carried out last year, which carried out a large meta-analysis in which they reviewed more than 700 investigations that would support their conclusions, among which we would find 400 epidemiological studies, of which 300 they would point out that red meat could indeed cause some type of cancer.

What’s more, it is estimated that a daily consumption of just 40 grams of cold cuts increases the risk of heart problems and cancer.

These are the effects of meat consumption on your body and your health

DNA damage

Processed meats, such as cold cuts or sausages, contain nitrates or nitrogenous salts, which are, in fact, the most toxic substances found in this type of food.

Nitrates are capable of being transformed into nitrosamines when found in the human body, considered one of the most carcinogenic substances that exist, by causing damage to DNA (in the nucleus of the cell).

More presence of toxic substances

But red and processed meats don’t just contain nitrates. In fact, it is estimated that a piece of meat contains more than 900 toxic substances. For example, in the United States, the use of antibiotics, vaccines and hormones in livestock is extremely common.  The consumption of heavy metals from water and the environment is also common.

All this accumulates for years in the adipose tissues (fat) of the animal. And what happens when we consume meat contaminated with these types of substances? Very simple (and alarming): these substances begin to break down and in turn produce many more toxic substances.

Among these substances we can mention the presence of cadaverine, skatole or indole. Although they already exist in meat, when they enter our body they tend to multiply as a result of the action of the different bacteria that are in our digestive tract.

Increased risk of cancer

It is considered that there are three types of cancer directly related to the consumption of meat and processed meats: colon and rectal cancer, prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer.

In the case of colorectal cancer (colon and rectum), for example, the association between this disease and the consumption of red meat is strong.

Produces a dysbiosis effect and ages us faster

When we eat meat there is an imbalance in the concentration of intestinal bacteria  that can contribute to the development or worsening of a wide variety of chronic and degenerative diseases, especially intestinal.

In other words, meat has a very negative effect on the good bacterial flora that helps our body stay healthy. As a consequence, the body’s self-regulation is altered through the bacteria it has for the production of essential substances, such as vitamin K.

Increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases

In addition to the increased risk of cancer, it has also been observed that excessive consumption of red meat also increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis and fat metabolism disorders.

On the other hand, it not only increases cholesterol and triglyceride levels, but also uric acid, which in high amounts causes disabling pain in the joints and gout (inflammation of one or more joints as a result of crystallization and the accumulation of this compound).

And what happens with unusual or excessive consumption?

As the researchers themselves also show, a low but not zero consumption of meat can be beneficial for health. That is, avoiding the consumption of processed meat (such as sausages), and opting only for red meat on a specific basis and white meat on a more regular basis.

This is because, from a nutritional point of view, meat is an important source of protein, iron, essential fatty acids and vitamins of group B.


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