Sunday, February 10, 2013
When I read Frank Trapani’s article “Meat has benefits” in the Jan. 25 issue, I had to reluctantly conclude that either he was, unfortunately, unaware of the mountain of evidence against the use of meat, or even worse, he chose to ignore it.
The first concern has to do with his second paragraph where he alleges many cultures have subsisted on meat. This is true only in part because there are many cultures that have, for various reasons, decided not to eat meat. For example, many Hindus do not eat meat.
It is true that meat and all animal products in general contain complete proteins. However, it is not true they are the best sources of proteins. Soybeans and the grain quinoa contain complete proteins.
If one just looks at the short-term effects of animal protein, one might readily conclude they are of a higher quality.
However, if you look at the long-term effects of the use of proteins, plant proteins win hands down. The countries in the world that have the highest intakes of plant foods as compared to animal foods have the lowest levels of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.
I am sure many people do not realize the protein in animal products and the protein in plants are different. Animal proteins generate acids in the body that is not good. The body, in an effort to counteract the acid, takes calcium out of the bones and it ends up in the urine. So people who have high animal diets have more kidney stones and osteoporosis.
Animal products have no fiber. The muscle fibers that can be seen in some cuts of meat are broken down in the process of digestion so they don’t really help.
The two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, that are in plants play important roles by helping to keep people regular and also help to lower cholesterol.
Another area of concern has to do with antioxidants. A 2005 article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that looked at the antioxidant levels in 1,133 commonly used foods in the U.S. stated, “Almost all of the 300 products containing the most antioxidants were pure plant-derived products and almost all of the 300 with the lowest levels were animal-derived products.”
Antioxidants are very important in counteracting the damage done by free radicals.