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Environmental and Health Issues Related to Eating Meat, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1158

Essay

Eating meat has become a common culture especially among individuals who are living in urban areas. Meat is a common food resource that is easy to raise and easy to prepare for many individuals around the globe. The taste of meat and the satisfaction it gives is what makes the said food resource practically inviting. However, there are instances when the capacity of meat to provide what humans crave for in food; and the way such cravings affects the balance in nature. Some authors claim that eating too much meat has negative health consequences, and damages the environment. Others, however, state that meat and poultry products contain some minerals essential for human body that cannot be absorbed in any other form. The essay presented herein is designed to carefully examine the different arguments, in order to evaluate their validity and make a clear stand on the issue.

Environmental Issues

Some researchers claim that meat production has a huge environmental impact, and farming animals destroys the living environment. However, it is important to note that most industrial activities have environmental impact. While there are others who claim that meat production and processing takes up particular resources, the reality behind the survey and studies particularly provide a definite pattern that insists on the fact that such matter regarding  On the other hand, issues relating to carbon foot print emissions provide a more distinct sense of argument. According to the Greeneatz website, cheese has a higher CO2 emission footprint than pork, therefore, those not eating meat should consider eating cheese, too. While the author states that the carbon footprint of a vegetarian is around 50 percent of a meat eater’s, this does not relate to people who eat local meat. Indeed, vegetarians often choose products that travel more to the shop than meat.

Human Health Claims

Many researchers claim that meat is responsible for obesity and heart disease epidemics in the Western world. However, according to the recent Healthy Planet Eating website, the problem is not with the meat, but the nutritional value of the meat products manufactured by large companies. While claiming that “lower-meat diets could cut deaths from heart disease by 31,000, deaths from cancer by 9,000 and deaths from strokes by 5,000 each year” (3), it also claims that meat has changed in the past decades, due to the different methods of farming and food manufacturing. Considering that the report states that “a standard supermarket chicken now contains significantly less protein and more than twice as much fat as in 1970” (3), it is possible that it is not meat that is the enemy but fat, which is but a small part of the meat itself. Further declaring that processed meat is more harmful to humans than the unprocessed ones, confirmation on such level of harm depends on the type of meat being referred to is given particular attention.

It should also be noted that meat, contain several minerals and nutrients that are essential that humans need. According to the “Beef It’s For Dinner” website, minerals that are needed by the body, found in the meat & beans group of the food pyramid include those that help people prevent chronic illnesses. The report states that “lean beef is a naturally nutrient-rich source of several essential vitamins and minerals we need to live well and prevent chronic disease. A three-ounce serving of lean beef is an excellent source of protein, zinc, vitamin B12, selenium and phosphorus; and a good source of niacin, vitamin B6, iron and riboflavin” (Johannes, et al, 2012). Some of the minerals above are best consumed in a natural form, and cannot be absorbed by the human body in a synthetic form. Chris Resser’s website states that there is no evidence that red meat causes cancer, and the results of scientific studies are far from being consequent. It is hard to find magnesium, cobalt, copper, phosphorus, nickel, chromium, and selenium in any other food other than red meat. Indeed, many people who change to a fully vegetarian or vegan diet immediately feel the need for supplements, as they do not get enough iron and Vitamin D (Johannes, et al, 2012).

As Vitamin D, Omega 3 and 6, and iron are considered to protect the nervous system of the human body not getting enough of these elements and substances can increase health risks. A recent study by Michalak et al. comparing different diets found that one-month, 12-month, and lifetime prevalence of mental health disorders, such as depressive and anxiety conditions was significantly higher among completely vegetarian and predominantly vegetarian people than non-vegetarians (Chris, 2014). This finding indicates that – while breaking up with meat completely might reduce the risk of some diseases – vegetarians often experience side effects of missing out on nutrients found in meat.

Conclusion

The above review of the arguments found that the claims related to the environmental impact of eating meat are not related to meat, but the processes the food industry uses to produce food. Indeed, the carbon footprint of eating meat can simply be reduced if people choose to eat local food. It has also been found that cheese has a greater carbon footprint than pork, for example. Therefore, recommending vegetarian diet would not make consumers greener.

The next argument reviewed was based on the impact of red meat on human health. The problem with the studies quoted is that they do not differentiate between processed and unprocessed meat products, and fat content. Further, it has been found that vegetarians experience some negative side effects of their diet, due to their malnutrition caused by not eating meat. Overall, the author argues that meat is essential for the human body, and it is not meat but fat that causes health epidemics. This means that meat processing companies need to find a way to make their products healthier, and reduce the carbon and water consumption footprint associated with producing and eating meat.t

Good choice of nutritional diet could help well in identifying the most efficient process of eating and the food choices that comes along with it. Relatively, people have become more concerned about their health today compared to how it has ever been in the past. The concentration of the matter identifies the concept of improvement on how humans perceive food and nutrition as a vital part of improving their health’s capacity to accept elements of developmental procedures that are designed to improve their health status while also protecting natural resources at the same time.

Works Cited

Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner “Don’t Miss Out on the Benefits of Naturally Nutrient-Rich Lean Beef” n.d. Web. <http://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/CMDocs/BIWFD/FactSheets/What_You_Miss_Without_Meat.pdf>

Chris Kresser “Red Meat: It Does a Body Good!” 2014. Web. <http://chriskresser.com/red-meat-it-does-a-body-good>

Friends of the Earth. “Healthy planet eating. How lower meat diets can save lives and the planet” 2010. Web. <http://www.foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/healthy_planet_eating.pdf>

Green Eatz. “Food’s Carbon Footprint” n.d. Web. <http://www.greeneatz.com/foods-carbon-footprint.html>

Johannes Michalak, Xiao Chi Zhang, and Frank Jacobi. “Vegetarian diet and mental disorders: results from a representative community survey”  International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2012, 9:67. 2012. Print.

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