We're Eating Too Much Meat But Also Not?
In a similar vein to last week’s news, let’s take a look at BIG MEAT – not exactly a household term, not nearly as well known as, say, BIG PHARMA or BIG OIL…well, meat, much like any other large industry, has lobbyists playing to the corporate interests that profit from our habits (during the last election cycle they spent approximately $12 million on lobbying and donations to members of Congress).
Per a past article, I mentioned that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s report asserted that “consistent evidence indicates that…a dietary pattern that is higher in plant-based foods…and lower in animal-based foods is more health promoting and is associated with a lesser environmental impact than is the current average US diet.” This yielded a social-media based response from The North American Meat Institute, indicating that it is a “myth” that cutting meat from one’s diet will make it healthier.
Let’s be excruciatingly blunt, clear, insert whatever adjective is required to make a point as obvious and redundant as possible, thus avoiding any possible confusion amongst readers:
America’s obesity rate is currently 27.7% – and has been on a fairly steady rise in the last ten years. As it just so happens, the average American consumed “195 pounds (boneless, trimmed – weight equivalent) per person, 57 pounds above average annual consumption in the 1950s…” This, alongside the insane abundance of high fructose corn syrup in just about every food one can imagine, points a very obvious figure at the rise in meat consumption alongside the rise in obesity. That’s not to say that meat isn’t healthy nor does it mean that meat can’t be part of a complete diet, it means that it’s distinctly possible and indeed likely that Americans eat too much meat, and that Big Meat’s guidelines might not be in-line with what’s best for the general public, especially when it comes to environmental guidelines, which spurred the initial response from Big Meat’s lobbyists:
“…the UN argues, for instance, that livestock produce 14.5 percent of globe greenhouse gas emissions. The Dietary Guidelines’ committee points out that producing one calorie of beef requires 18 times as much fuel as producing one calorie of grain.” The guidelines aren’t just a sleight against the companies profiting from meat sales, they are “ultimately about people’s relationship with food, and the deterioration of the environment’s health is a blow to our food security.”
Image source: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/Fpyr/pyramid.gif