Young and Hungry

Red Meat Consumption Will Be Our New Vice

Until states virtually legislated it out of existence, save for the yellow-stained environs of our very own homes, smoking used to be the vice that'd get you death stares from mommies with strollers and self-righteous reformed smokers. I got to think that, in the not-so-distance future, red meat eaters are headed for a similar fate.

Just look at the laundry list of calamities that livestock production helps to cause: global warming, deforestation, air and water pollution, loss of biodiversity. Now comes the latest study, published in today's Washington Post, that says eating red meat will shave years off your life. The gist:

The study of more than 500,000 middle-aged and elderly Americans found that those who consumed about four ounces of red meat a day (the equivalent of about a small hamburger) were more than 30 percent more likely to die during the 10 years they were followed, mostly from heart disease and cancer. Sausage, cold cuts and other processed meats also increased the risk.

Previous research had found a link between red meat and an increased risk of heart disease and cancer, particularly colorectal cancer, but the new study is the first large examination of the relationship between eating meat and overall risk of death, and is by far the most detailed.

Other than sheer sensuous pleasure, there would seem to be little reason to dig into a 16-ounce porterhouse these days. I mean, if it were just a matter of personal longevity, I could make that Faustian bargain. Would I shave a few years of life—the doddering, slobbering years perhaps?—for a few daily slices of fresh-from-the-smoker brisket? Hell yeah, I can pull the trigger on that deal. I'm sorry I just don't want to live an extra few years if I'm stuck eating turkey and chicken all the time. You can just shoot me now. (Just kidding, Carrie!)

But, christ, all the environmental impacts are hard to swallow. So with the stroke of these keys, I'm vowing to limit my red meat consumption. Frankly, I'm not sure how I'll do it, but I'll keep y'all posted on the progress. I think it'll be difficult as hell to limit my intake to less than four ounces a day.

Photo by VirtualErn

  • Dan Riley

    Good luck with that Bro. The quality of beef and pork products is climbing quickly and it keeps pulling me back. I've got pancetta and bresola hanging in my garage now.

  • xcanuck

    There are things you can do to mitigate the negative health effects of eating red meat. That doesn't really apply to smoking. Furthermore, red meat in moderation is fine. There's no such thing as moderating your smoking to healthy levels (at least not according to my respiratory specialist). And eating red meat doesn't cause health problems for the f**king vegan next to you (though wouldn't it be great if it *could*??).

    It sucks - one of the greatest pleasures of my life was smoking a cigarette, drinking a dbl gin/tonic, whilst tending to a two inch porterhouse on a charcoal grill. All the above are now a threat to my health. *sigh*

    Will I quit eating red meat - hell, no! But I will eat it less. When I do, it'll be REALLY good stuff. And I'll pay extra to get it from the local guys who assure me the environmental impacts are minimal. Is that enough to assuage my guilt? I hope so!!

  • Lou

    Tim.

    Tim. Tim. Tim.

    With spring and summer coming, BBQ season will be reinvigorated. Good luck.

    ...lou

  • Tim Carman

    I'm hoping I can skip a few days in a row in order to have one gorge BBQ day a week. Does it work that way?

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  • Carolyn

    Keep it up Tim! I've been restricting my red meat intake for years. You can easily get it down to once a month or less. Soon, you won't even miss it! And, that steak on your birthday or ribs at a friend's bbq will taste that much sweeter.

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