Animal Aid

BBC documentary reveals health impacts of meat

Posted 19 August 2014

Despite trying to remain impartial throughout, the first part of the BBC’s documentary ‘Horizon: Should I Eat Meat?’ (18 August) showed in no uncertain terms that current meat consumption levels in the UK are unhealthy, especially those of processed red meat such as bacon and sausages.

This echoed what Animal Aid has been saying for some time, that meat – particularly processed red meat – is linked to numerous health problems including cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. Our report No Safe Limit lists numerous scientific studies that have linked processed red meat to bowel cancer, as well as respected medical organisations that agree with the findings. This is why we are calling for health warnings to be issued on processed red meat products and for their sale to be limited to adults only, just as with tobacco.

However, the most startling outcome of the documentary was the effect a high-meat diet had on the presenter, Dr Michael Mosley. Switching to a diet that included 130g of red meat every day for just a month caused Dr Mosley’s cholesterol, blood pressure and body fat to increase dramatically. This is all the more alarming given that 25 per cent of the UK’s adult male population consumes at least 130g of red meat every day, which can be as little as one sausage and two slices of ham.

Whilst the documentary focused only on red meat, it is clear from recent news stories that poultry meat also poses serious health risks. Articles revealing that two-thirds of chicken meat sold in British supermarkets is contaminated with potentially lethal campylobacter, as well as a Guardian investigation into poor hygiene at poultry plants, show that it is not necessarily a safe alternative.

Those on a plant-based diet, on the other hand, have consistently lower levels of obesity, cardiovascular disease, stroke and some types of cancer.

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