Is meat bad for your health?

[Article updated on 19/09/2023]

According to the WHO, “red meat is probably carcinogenic, and processed meat is proven to be so.” Moreover, its consumption has fallen by 12% in 10 years (Source: Crédoc).

Before reading on

I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.

The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.

Should we go without meat all the same?

Several scientific studies have been published concerning the bad health effects of red meat (beef, veal, horse, pork, sheep, lamb, goat). It would increase the risks of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and even diabetes. The study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified red meat and processed meat (sausage, cold meats, etc.) as carcinogenic to humans.

Excessive consumption of red meats and cold meats increases the risk of colorectal cancer, for example, and in addition, the iron contained in red meat will ultimately produce aldehydes (organic compounds) which select precancerous cells. However, do not forget that genetic factors come into play.

And the microbiota has a role in all this?

The increased risk of cardiovascular diseases due to the intestinal microbiota (these are all the microorganisms in your intestine) is also proven because, if it is bad, it will tend to produce compounds harmful to health. In other words, you need to consume enough plants and therefore fiber to “counteract” this effect.

avoid barbecues

So should we stop eating meat?

So, I’m not asking you to stop eating meat at all, but you should know that in most studies, the risk of cancer is high when you eat more than 100g of cooked red meat per day, that is – say the equivalent of a minced steak per day.

Don’t forget also that ¼ of French people consume too much meat, that’s for sure, but the problem also lies in their entire lifestyle which is at risk: sedentary lifestyle, obesity, smoking, alcohol.

And then remember to cook your red meat using cooking methods that are not dangerous to your health, such as simmering it or cooking it in water. Avoid, for example, repeated barbecues. Finally, you should think about eating more vegetables and fruits to have a better microbiota. And nothing stops you from replacing the meat if you wish.

Other foods can replace meat?

There are other foods rich in protein such as cheese, dairy products, eggs, fish. Legumes also like lentils-dried beans-chickpeas which are used a lot by vegetarians.

Trick: Consider eating a fruit when you eat a vegetarian dish so that the vegetable iron is better absorbed by your body.

To sum up :

  • Excess red meats and cold meats are bad for your health;
  • Red meat: No more than twice a week;
  • Replace red meat with eggs, fish or legumes.