More and more people are reducing their meat consumption and with health and environmental benefits to doing so, it is perhaps of little surprise. There are pros and cons to ditching the burgers and reducing your meat intake and, whether considering going full vegan or just dropping meat from a meal every now and then, it is probably good to know how and why this can affect your body so we look at five things that can happen when you stop eating meat.
1. Weight Loss
Although not a cure-all for being overweight, a vegetarian diet has been linked to weight loss for those switching from an omnivorous diet. In fact, when research was done by a team at George Washington University School of Medicine, they found that, without monitoring their food intake or increasing the amount of exercise they took, participants in the study lost an average of 10lbs.
Neal Barnard, M.D., lead author of the study and an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University, said of the results, “The take-home message is that a plant-based diet can help you lose weight without counting calories and without ramping up your exercise routine.”
2. Your Gut Bacteria Will Change
As your diet alters so does the bacteria in your gut that helps you digest your food. This is because different things are now entering your body and it needs to adapt to how it is changing. A study in 2014 by the City University, New York found that there were differences between omnivores, vegans, and vegetarians with a marked difference between omnivores and vegans as vegans were found to have more protective bacteria.
3. There Is A Possibility of Lack Of Nutrients
One of the biggest mistakes people make when deciding to switch diets is that they don't balance their meals properly. One major issue that has recently arisen is that people who change diet with fashion rather than for health reasons, often don't do the necessary research. With a balanced diet, it should be fine but it can, however, be harder to get enough iron, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. By making sure you eat enough pulses, such as beans and lentils, nuts, fruit, dark green vegetables, whole grains, and cereals with fortified irons should do the trick in terms of Iron. As for B12, yeast extract products, fortified breakfast cereals, and soya products will contain them and eggs, fortified fat spreads, cereals and some milk can be a source of vitamin D. More information can be found here.
4. Your Cancer Risk Could Drop
According to the World Health Organization, processed meats have been classed as carcinogenic. Bacon and salami fall into this category alongside things such as formaldehyde, gamma radiation, and cigarettes. Findings suggest that a just a 50g portion of processed meat a day could increase the risk of bowel cancer by 18 percent and so by reducing this intake this risk starts to drop off. Red meat has also been labeled as 'probably' having cancer-causing properties.
5. The Risk Of Heart Disease Could Drop
Lerner Research Institute conducted a study that found that cartrinine can set off a reaction in your gut microbes that causes heart disease. Cartrinine is a nutrient found in red meat and the lead author of the study, lead author Stanley Hazen, MD, PhD, Vice Chair of Translational Research for the Lerner Research Institute and Section Head of Preventive Cardiology & Rehabilitation, said of the findings, “This adds to the growing body of data reinforcing a connection between red meat, carnitine ingestion, and heart disease development.”