“Everything in moderation” is the common phrase people associate with eating and healthy eating. But is moderation really good for Americans? Every five years, the dietary guidelines for Americans are updated. These guidelines suggest what to eat, how much to eat, and what to eliminate. They have typically not been controversial, until recently.
The newest guidelines suggest Americans should eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat free dairy products, lean meat, and little to no red meat. Americans are permitted to comment on the document, and many have shown outrage. This is seen as controversial because the guidelines recommend eating little red or processed meat. Professor Jule Ann Henstemburg of the nursing and health sciences department explained why red meat is so bad for us.
Red meat consumes a lot of resources and is harmful to mass produce. Studies have shown that the production of red meat pollutes our earth more than transportation. According to a United Nations report, 18 percent of greenhouse gases come from meat and 13 percent of gases come from transportation. The study also concludes that making one hamburger pollutes the air more than driving a car 20 miles, meat production and consumption contributes to destruction of the Amazon Rainforest, and one hamburger destroys 55 square feet of the Rainforest.
Along with environmental effects, red meat is bad for our health. Decreasing our red meat consumption reduces heart disease, limits cancer rate, fights diabetes, curbs obesity, improves diet, and helps us live longer. Recently, there has been a campaign called “Meatless Monday” that encourages individuals to abstain from eating meat once a week. Abstaining from meat once a week ultimately can improve health, reduce carbon footprint, minimize water usage, reduce fuel dependence, and improve the overall state of our environment. Our health is important, and improving it should be our main priority.