July 1, 2023 · 2:15 PM
I found a review article at Animal Frontiers that makes the argument in favor of meat consumption. The authors admit little focus on the downsides of eating meat. I’ve been cutting back on my meat consumption out of sympathy for the animals. Here are some of the key points verbatim:
- Aspects of human anatomy, digestion, and metabolism diverged from other primates, indicating evolutionary reliability on, and compatibility with, substantial meat intake. Implications of a disconnect from evolutionary dietary patterns may contribute to today’s burden of disease, increasing the risk for both nutrient deficiencies and chronic diseases.
- Meat supplies high-quality protein and various nutrients, some of which are not always easily obtained with meat-free diets and are often already suboptimal or deficient in global populations. Removal of meat comes with implications for a broad spectrum of nutrients that need to be accounted for, while compensatory dietary strategies must factor in physiological and practical constraints.
- Although meat makes up a small part (<10%) of global food mass and energy, it delivers most of the global vitamin B12 intake and plays a substantial role in the supply of other B vitamins, retinol, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids acids, several minerals in bioavailable forms (eg, iron and zinc), and a variety of bioactive compounds with health-improving potential (eg, taurine, creatine, and carnosine).
- As a food matrix, meat is more than the sum of its individual nutrients. Moreover, within the diet matrix, it can serve as a keystone food in food-based dietary interventions to improve nutritional status, especially in regions that rely heavily on cereal staples.
- Efforts to lower global meat intake for environmental or other reasons beyond a critical threshold may hinder progress towards reducing undernutrition and the effects this has on both physical and cognitive outcomes, and thereby stifle economic development. This is particularly a concern for populations with increased needs and in regions where current meat intake levels are low, which is not only pertinent for the Global South but also of relevance in high-income countries.
Steve Parker, M.D