Updated: Sep 18, 2022
World News Editor
Beef, hamburgers, steaks, and more. These are just a few examples of common meat-based products that millions of people enjoy. However, a growing number of people claim that meat is unhealthy, and even dangerous. But while there is evidence to support these claims, there is also evidence to counter them that proves the benefits of consuming meat.
While there are alternatives to meat, such as plant-based beef, these alternatives do not offer some major benefits that “normal” beef offers: proteins, heme iron, and selenium. These nutritious substances are key to a healthy life. According to the North American Meat Institute, the proteins made in animals are “‘complete’ because [they] contain all the amino acids essential for health” and other key nutrients. Heme iron, which occurs in meat, fish, and poultry, helps to prevent anemia. This is a condition where the body does not have enough red blood cells, leading to reduced oxygen flow in the organs. Heme iron also helps the body absorb the non-heme iron found in plant foods, making it more effective. Selenium, an antioxidant that helps to prevent cell damage, promotes good thyroid function, and can contribute to cancer prevention, is abundant in meat. A single serving of beef will deliver half of your daily selenium needs, without extra hassle.
Another pro for meat is the wide variety of methods that can be used to cook it. Meat is versatile, and is able to have seasoning added, evoking many different flavors. For example, cooks can use basil, bay leaves, chili powder, and garlic as they prepare meat dishes. These toppings enhance the flavor of meat more than they would the flavor of plants, making your burger or steak memorable. This method of adding spices to make the meat more flavorful is one that chefs have used for thousands of years. Across the world, the same meats are prepared in many different ways, with various cultures using their own unique ingredients and combinations of flavoring.
Many people who oppose eating meat argue that it is detrimental to animals and the environment. However, according to the Sustainable Food Trust, the plants grown for vegans to consume are not without their own problematic secrets. For instance, scores of birds, deer, and small mammals are killed annually in order to protect the crops that vegans will later eat. And when you take into account the numbers of animals killed when land is cleared to make way for more crops, these totals are easily equal to, or even higher than, the number of animals killed annually for meat. Another issue is palm oil (a.k.a. vegetable oil) and the amount of land that is devastated to capture it. Already endangered species, such as rhinos, tigers, and orangutans, are being pushed even closer to extinction because of the vegan desire for palm oil. While the problem started in southern Asia, it has now become a global issue, destroying land across multiple continents. Endangered animals are being killed so vegans don’t have to eat the fat of an animal that won’t be facing extinction in our lifetimes.
Meat is better than vegan choices. Beef offers more key benefits needed for a healthy life, delivers important minerals needed for health, and can be cooked or flavored in many different ways. And while it does harm land, those leafy greens are doing just as much harm. Make sure to consider all that next time you tell someone not to eat meat.