Meat is dangerous? Duh!

Curbing consumption is good for our bodies and the Earth

The World Health Organization’s revelation that eating red and processed meats results in a higher likelihood of cancer is no revelation, except perhaps to those who’ve been living in a cave for the past decade or so.

There have been countless studies linking meat consumption to increased risks of several types of cancer, especially of the colon. W.H.O.’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), its research arm that announced the findings on Monday (Oct. 26), evaluated the carcinogenicity of both types of meats in its review. The takeaway is that processed meats, including every carnivore’s favorite salty meat, bacon, cause colon cancer and likely other forms of the disease. Additionally, red meat likely causes colorectal cancer, and maybe other types as well, such as prostate and pancreatic cancer.

The good news for meat lovers is that the risks remain small when meat is eaten in moderation. That’s why the director of IARC recommends limiting one’s intake.

Reducing the chances of a cancer diagnosis is a pretty good incentive for curbing meat consumption. But there are other reasons to cut down on or eliminate meat from one’s diet. Perhaps the most important is that it is a key factor in our warming world. That’s according to a nearly decade-old report by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, which revealed that the food we consume—primarily meat through its production—releases more greenhouse gases than that spewed from our vehicles or from industrial operations.

Yet, here we are nearly a decade on, and meat is still on tables daily around the world. Let’s start cutting back—it will not only aid our bodies, but also will help the planet.