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jabag11's avatar

Is eating a lot of meat bad?

Asked by jabag11 (670 points ) April 27th, 2011

My cousin who is a personal trainer says if I want to get my muscles better and repaired faster, and all that good stuff then I need to have more protein.

So I meat for almost all of my meals with some bread and stuff, but my mother says that Dr.OZ is talking about how they inject a lot of hormones in the meat and that the more protein you have the higher chance you have for cancer. And that it’s bad to have too much hormones.

Is my mom worrying too much? How correct is she?

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43 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

Free range organic meat is best. Hunt your own or find an organic- grass fed cattle ranch to buy meat from.

I agree to an extent with Dr Oz. All the additives and hormones and steroids added to most commercial meat animals cannot be good for us.

Trojans40's avatar

I heard of this, although tell me what does NOT cause cancer?
I think Peanut Butter would be a great way to get protein, even normal nuts.

Think of where the meat has orginally come from. Also was feed on that farm or even what does the farmers do to the animals that produces the meat.
@WestRiverrat the tap water can have chemicals that the animals drink. Even if you hunt your animals, they can just simply got into grass that been fed accidently by running water from a fertiler field.

Garebo's avatar

Don’t eat that white bread with all that bleach and starch; eat organic grass fed beef and butter from cows that munch on lots of grass. And eat lots of it if you want to build quick muscle. Lamb is great, pig not so great, chicken OK, again quality of the bird. If you can go wild if you have hunter friends Eat as much as you can, I’m sure your young kidneys can handle, along if it is with plenty of nutritional fiber, i.e. vegetables, seeds, and nuts.
You can achieve the same thing being a vegan-just a lot harder to do efficiently.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I have never seen a wild animal turn on a tap, but even if what you say is true, there is less contamination from residual chemicals ingested than there is from hormones/steroids injected into the animals themselves.

AmWiser's avatar

These days your mom’s concerns and worries are legitimate given the way the food industry has evolved. Your best bet is to research and draw your own conclusions on what you eat. I contend, nothing is safe these days and we are all going to die of one thing or another.

rooeytoo's avatar

Yep the safest is to eat free range meat and poultry. It may not be 100% safe but better than the factory farmed, antibiotic riddled, etc. stuff.

There are many other sources of protein than meat. Read labels, almost everything you eat has protein in it to a certain degree. Also beans, eggs, cheese and fish are all high protein sources as well.

Stay away from white carbs, they are full of sugar and that is the biggest enemy of your body because it is hidden everywhere and we consume way too much of it.

jessifer1212's avatar

Meat is a great source of protein and its good to get a lot of protein if you’re exercising a lot (it will help build muscle). However, meat, especially red meat, can be difficult to digest, especially if you eat a lot of it. Also it’s not good to eat a lot of meat without much other variety in your diet because then you’ll be lacking in other nutrients. My suggestion is to try to eat a balanced meal in terms of vitamins, and make meat the main part of your meal several times a week (for example a steak with a side salad). You can also take a protein supplement, or eat beans and other natural sources of protein.

Ladymia69's avatar

I could tell you all the disgusting shit I have read about what meat does to your tissues, blood, colon, etcetera, but all that would happen is I would get flamed by all the flesh-eaters who worship their New York Strip steaks. I will tell you, however, that there is more than enough protein in foods other than meat, and that it is absolutely possible to be a body-builder while being vegan.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
zenvelo's avatar

Perhaps you should investigate whey protein. It’s much better for you than meat.

JLeslie's avatar

Yes, too much is bad. There is a good chance your cholesterol will go up, although some people this does not happen. I recommend you get some blood tests done if you are going to do a diet that is extreme. My friends personal traimer has outrageously bad cholesterol and triglycerides, his total and ratio is in the gutter. Along with this animal products in general are high in cholesterol, so you need to watch. Egg whites high protein no cholesterol, egg yolks or whole eggs extremely high in cholesterol. One egg is like a 10 oz steak.

You can buy hormone free meat most likely. You just need to read the packages.

You said you eat bread. I am going to suggest an idea from way back and the day, before our time. The old idea was the four food groups, meat, veggies, starch, dairy. How about try to kind of balance those things. Every lunch and dinner always have veggies meat and a starch on your plate so you get a little of everything, instead of being so extreme. If you can avoid dairy, I recommend it, or stick to lowfat at least.

dabbler's avatar

A lot of the most elite triathletes are vegetarian or eat almost no meat because of the metabolic load it costs to digest meat for the little or nothing it has to offer over alternatives. It’s also metabolically expensive to flush out the ketones resulting from excessive protein consumption so just from the efficiencies it is attractive to a lot of athletes to nearly eliminate animal consumption. Never mind the serious load on the liver of an atkins-style meatfest.

JLeslie's avatar

My point, which I failed to make, is the heart disease might kill you way before the cancer.

incendiary_dan's avatar

“They inject hormones and other nasty stuff into meat, so meat is bad for you” is spurious reasoning. That just means hormones and that other nasty stuff are bad. Also, the idea that you can eat too much meat is bullshit. Many human populations have subsisted primarily or entirely on wild meat, and have been way healthier than anyone in our society. Like @WestRiverrat said, the source matters. Wild and free range meat is extremely healthy, particularly if you remember to eat the organ meats and make bone broth. Check out the Weston A. Price Foundation website for more about how traditional diets high in animal fat are good, and how eating cholesterol is actually good for you.

And before anyone else tries to bring up statistics proving, well, whatever they feel like about meat eating, I have several points:

1) All of the studies that have been performed “proving” vegetarians are healthier have been conducted on industrialized humans. To contrast, the health of the Inuit and Masai (who eat mostly or all meat) is impeccable, and they have no signs of diabetes or cancer. Well, that’s not entirely true. Inuit people eating their traditional diets started to come down with cancer when carcinogens from industrial pollution made their way up the food web. But it took a lot of pollutants.

2) The studies never control for class, because America pretends to be a classless society. An extremely high percentage of vegans and vegetarians are middle and upper class (and white), and therefore have access to generally higher quality foods and medical care. They’re also more likely to be fed sufficient quantities of high quality protein (read: meat) as youths, and therefore set the stage during those extremely important developmental times.

3) The studies do not differentiate between types of meats, lumping in processed meat with unprocessed meat. Many processed meats in this country are made with sodium nitrite, which is a known carcinogen. That has drastically tainted the results. Luckily, newer studies have been conducted and show, not surprisingly, that those who only eat non-processed meat are extremely healthy compared to those that eat a lot of sodium nitrite.

4) They also do not make any distinction between what the animals eat. As Lierre Keith, author of The Vegetarian Myth, says factory farmed meat is sick meat. The nutrients normally in wild or grass fed meat are generally reduced greatly in CAFO animals. The balance between Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids is greatly thrown off. Once again, studies show by comparison people who eat free range and wild meats are healthier than their counterparts eating factory farmed meat.

5)Race and class are inextricably intertwined in this country. Unfortunately, people of color tend not to live as long, particularly black people, due to interrelated factors such as predatory economics, ghettoization, and a War on Drugs used as an excuse to jail and politically disempower people of color.

6)More people who choose vegetarianism and veganism as a lifestyle do so because of a perceived interest in health. Therefore, they’re more likely to avoid processed food than the average meat eater. Nobody will say processed food is good for you.

In short, remember this one short phrase that I learned in college and which has served me extremely well since: correlation does not equal causation.

JLeslie's avatar

@incendiary_dan Although I agree the type of meat matters, and the studies are for shit a lot of the time, I think none of us should go on averages and stats, and go get our own blood tests. I have people in the medical field tell me all of the time cholesterol won’t make my cholesterol go up saturated and transfat will. Well, I have proven in my body that is simpy false. The more cholesterol I eat the higher it goes. There is a school of thought that cholesterol is not the end all be all of getting heart disease, but it does seem to matter somewhat. Some people eat eggs every other day for breakfast and have perfect cholesterol, their bodies obviously stop producing the stuff when they are ingesting it, a function my body seems to not have working correctly.

Winters's avatar

Too much of anything is bad. That’s the simple truth. However, it is true that some sources of meat are superior to others in nutritional value. Grass fed livestock tends to be leaner and healthier than it’s counterparts. (Of course the king of all meat is kobe beef)

If you’re worried about cholesterol, eat more fiber, that’ll help lower it.

laureth's avatar

I have not read the rest of the responses. However, you may want to check out the Paleo Diet, if you like meat. It’s not necessarily bad for you if you do it right – but you do have to be responsible about what kind of meat (not too fatty) and what else you eat with it. Eating bread with meat, for example, is bad because the digestive enzymes for protein and carbs cancel each other out.

Facade's avatar

Generally, you should limit the amount of meat you eat, and there are other ways to get protein. Google it. The internet has lots of information about eating well for your lifestyle.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Buy organic, free range meat, and also include nuts, eggs (free range, cage free), and fish in your diet.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@JLeslie Yea, the relationship between overall serum cholesterol and heart disease in many stages of life actually shows that higher scores correlate with less heart disease, as well as overall longevity.

You can eat a diet entirely of meat and be healthy. You just also need to have enough fat and the fat soluble vitamins that go with it. Look at how the Inuit eat: all animal products, lots of fatty stuff mixed in with the meats. That way, you won’t get constipated. My body does fine on just meat and fat even with my digestive disorder, but some people’s prefer some vegetation (though typically it’s because they’re not used to eating enough fat with meat, so it doesn’t digest right). Best bet for a diet is one based on what your landbase gives freely. Around here it’s about half and half, maybe more meat in the summer when there’s plentiful shellfish.

Facade's avatar

@incendiary_dan You make a good point with the fat.

Garebo's avatar

@incendiary: you are so right on.

JLeslie's avatar

You have a digestive disorder? Does it inhibit absorption?

JLeslie's avatar

I found this about the inuit life expectancy. Obviously this blog has some bias. What data do you have?

mattbrowne's avatar

In general, yes. Both for your body. And for the environment. But the details matter too. Omega-3 and omega-6 balance is important for example.

dabbler's avatar

If you work as hard (physical labor) as an Inuit you could probably live well on that diet. Most of us don’t do anywhere near as much physical work and would have toxic levels of ketones from excess protein.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Yea, I have a mild case of Hirschprung’s. It doesn’t inhibit nutrients being absorbed (which, by the way, grains and legumes do, particularly when they aren’t properly processed in the old fashioned ways to reduce phytic acid and lectins) but it makes me highly prone to constipation. Therefore, I have to be careful about my diet or I get really blocked. Paleo with a touch of Weston Price does it for me.

@JLeslie I can’t view the link right now because I’m on the office computer, but later on I’ll check it out. One thing I know from reviewing some other sources is that Inuit data is sometimes gleaned from post-Westernization data to confuse the numbers. The diabetes epidemic in some contemporary Inuit populations was directly caused by the introduction of cheap, starchy foods by the U.S. or Canadian governments. There’s also another fact: they do live shorter lives typically than other hunting and gathering peoples. It’s just a harsh place to live. But diabetes and cancer were basically unheard of in the traditional Inuit. These diseases that are endemic to agricultural populations aren’t the major, or even noteworthy, causes of death in a lot of foraging populations.

Better examples would be the Lakota in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Despite a fair deal of stress from Euro-American incursion, those Lakota that died of old age were often in their nineties, and that was on a diet primarily consisting of bison meat. It was calorically the best way to support a population sustainably on the prairie. Note that less than a hundred years later we had the Dustbowl where once the indigenous herders maintained biodiverse prairie. Monocropping does that.

@mattbrowne Most environments can support a fair amount of meat eating, so long as it’s not the psychotic factory farming we have over here in the States. Sustainable grazing does wonders for soil growth and biodiversity, too.

dabbler's avatar

@incendiary_dan you have some great observations ref foraging folks living long lives on meat diets. I think it’s important to point out that they ate a lot less meat than a contemporary carnivore, and in fact ate a lot less of everything. Some estimates are they commonly ate less than 1000 calories a day of anything. The explosion of available quantity along with the change in kinds of food you well note have caused severe rates of obesity in native americans because they evolved to live on so little and even ‘normal’ amounts of food will make them fat.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@dabbler Actually, that’s almost completely wrong. The amount of meat in foraging societies basically runs the gamut from very little to entirely carnivorous. That particular misconception was spread for quite some time because in the latter part of the twentieth century, the main foraging groups that still existed living indigenously were those that were in fairly inhospitable terrain, often because they were pushed there, or because they were left alone (hard to plant crops in the Kalahari, so why steal their land?).

Further, hunting, gathering, and gardening peoples do not experience scarcity on the level that agriculturalists do. In part that’s because of their complex gift economies, and in part because it’s an easier way to get food: perennial polycrops like those maintained by many foraging groups produce more per acre and at higher quality, particularly those designed to encourage a lot of animal species, and foraging as a way of life requires an average of two hours a day for subsistence (varying on the climate, of course). I can personally attest to the effectiveness and economical nature of foraging, hunting, and trapping for food as someone who takes part in all those activities (gardening too, but I’m not as good at it). The characterization of foraging peoples’ existence as constant toil in the scrabble to find food is utterly false.

The rates of obesity, therefore, have nothing to do with the amount of food. In some cases, the average caloric intake has been reduced, particularly in areas where fatty meat and/or nuts were eaten as a staple, such as buffalo or salmon, or acorns. Rather, obesity and diabetes, and all the other issues lumped into “Syndrome X” (the endemic diseases of civilization) are caused in large measure by the property of agricultural grains and legumes causing spikes in blood sugar, as well as the fact that their pretty bereft of useful nutrients. Essentially, these people were forced to switch from diets rich in vital nutrients to one that was primarily made up of foods not only lacking nutrients, but which also prevented some from being absorbed.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@ladymia69 I like to think I didn’t waste five years getting a bachelors in Anthropology and the few years afterwards studying. I mean, it clearly isn’t helping me financially, so it might as well help me figure out good ways to live. Plus, it blends well with my teaching of wilderness and self-sufficiency skills.

JLeslie's avatar

@incendiary_dan I know a man that has very bad absorption, and cannot tolerate veggies or he gets blockages and winds up in surgery. He eats all sorts of high fat and high cholesterol foods, and never has high cholesterol, when in his youth and his family have high cholesterol. Not absorbing the nutrion well seems to mea. He doesn’t absorb the bad stuff also.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@JLeslie Is that by chance caused by Crohn’s?

JLeslie's avatar

Yes, he has Crohn’s. I don’t know if this is common for Crohn’s patients to have low cholesterol.

incendiary_dan's avatar

I know a lot of them end up skinny because of that lack of nutrients. One of my favorite writers, Derrick Jensen, writes about his experiences with Crohn’s, and how it relates to agro-industrial civilization (it’s a disease likely caused by industrial diets, probably having something to do with throwing off/destroying the flora and fauna in the digestive tract).

JLeslie's avatar

@incendiary_dan A long time ago I read information on the disease and there were studies using antibiotics and antiparasitics to treat it. i know a friend of mine wo has crohn’s just did three weeks of antibiotics and some steroids.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@JLeslie Eek! Every single person I’ve known with Crohn’s, as well as numerous people I’ve read stuff by, say that the most common factor they share is prolonged antibiotic use before developing Crohn’s. We’re pretty sure the combination of antibiotics and steroids is how my cousin got it. The condition doesn’t appear to be caused by any sort of infection (it’s an autoimmune disorder), so I don’t know why anyone would try treating it that way. In fact, I’d wager that’d make it worse.

JLeslie's avatar

@incendiary_dan Well, antibiotics can cause an overgrowth of bacteria that might create a problem, and a different antibiotic might help it. I actually think it is possibly infectious. I have some medical conditions that many doctors want to think I must also have intestinal difficulties, which generally I don’t, especially not the small intestine, but do have colon problems at times. My first colonscopy had a lot of trouble spots, I was told my rectum looks like a 65 year old woman, and I was in my early 30’s. During the next couple of years I wound up taking IV antibiotics on two separate occasions about a year apart, mega, and other antibiotics by mouth. My next to colonscopies have been perfect, except for a small polyp.

Many diseases thought to be rheumatic have wound up to be infectious. Lymes disease, stomach ulcers, rheumatic heart disease, and more.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Oh, I just remembered something else I read about statistics being skewed. Some anthropologists, rightly believing that their predecessors had overplayed the role of men in foraging societies and wanting to recognize the contributions of women, wrote about how women actually gathered a lot of the food in San society in their foraging. What many people disregarded, however, is that women also bring home meat! Much of it is smaller game, as women and children often maintain trap lines. Women in foraging societies also commonly take part in opportunity hunting, i.e. ‘hey, there’s a squirrel, I’m gonna try hitting it with a stick’. Small to medium game animals are far more plentiful in any give area, so this is often what was being eaten.

Now I want to get set some traps myself.

rooeytoo's avatar

In the bush of Australia, the women do almost all of the hunting and foraging. They wade into the croc infested water to hunt for file snakes with their feet. They also pick the lotus plants. The fruit bats are huge here and they stone them until the fall, they also hunt the big goannas and fish and gather bush tucker too. Actually the aboriginal men are a pretty lazy lot! They do occasionally get a roo or a wallaby and do a bit of spear fishing, but the women are the real providers. That is true in the more citified folks as well.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@rooeytoo Those women are fucking badasses. Thanks for that! I’m less familiar with the Australia natives and their subsistence strategies.

AshlynM's avatar

Moderation is key. If I were you, I’d try and limit red meat consumption to once a week. You don’t have to cut it out completely, just cut back. Red meat is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which in turn can lead to heart attack and stroke. On the other hand, red meat is a very good source of protein and nutrients.

liza462's avatar

Red meat should be consumed only about once a week. You can get your protein from chicken and eggs, vegetables and beans. Red meat is loaded with hormones unless you get organic, which can get pricey.

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