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We’ve known red meat isn’t the healthiest choice for a long time now. It’s a leading cause in heart disease, inflammation, cancer, and even digestive problems. While its highly touted by meat-lovers as being a good source of iron, (though we know there are better sources), the truth is, red meat is not a healthy food. But what is it about red meat that’s so bad?

Scientists at the University of California Found The Secret

Researchers at the University of California found that meat triggers a toxic reaction within the body that weakens the immune system due to a natural sugar it contains our bodies can’t digest. Yes, you heard that right – meat actually has a natural sugar, as small as it may be. Known as Neu5Gc, this sugar is a foreign agent to our body that is seen as an invader.

The body launches an immune response as it tries to get rid of it and in the mean time, a host of health problems occur, such as cancer (which is largely a disease of a weak immune system). The unique findings are that other carnivores can eat red meat fine because their bodies actually contain the natural sugar that digests the meat. Our bodies don’t – clearly a sign that we’re not meant to eat it.

Meat and Tumor Production

The sugar, Neu5Gc, is already in the body of other carnivores that consume meat for food. Mice (who don’t contain the sugar as we don’t) were fed meat and actually developed tumors quickly.

“This is the first time we have directly shown that mimicking the exact situation in humans increases spontaneous cancers in mice,” said Dr Ajit Varki, Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of California. “The final proof in humans will be much harder to come by.”

We don’t think we need more proof to go meat-free, do you? Meat has led to a host of negative environmental and health factors for years. Harvard University found that a diet high in red meat raised the risk of breast cancer for women by 22 percent, and found those who regularly ate 5.6oz (160g) of red meat a day had one third higher risk of bowel cancer.

These studies provide more proof that meat really isn’t a healthy choice. If our bodies don’t see meat as a welcomed food, it’s time to stop eating it once and for all.

For tips to go meatless, check out: 13 Meatless Monday Meals for the Beginner Cook.

Lead Image Source: Rpavich/Flickr

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0 comments on “The Secret’s Out: The Reason Red Meat is So Bad for Our Health”

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2 Years Ago

There are no scientific references to support this article just a link to another article which also doesn\'t have any scientific references to support it. You also fail to mention the harm caused by things such as processed soy products etc. Little bit biased I say. An omnivore diet is what nature gave us and nature knows best. I believe articles like this are both misinforming and dangerous.

18 Aug 2018

As someone who mostly (and I mean like 99% of the time) eats a plant based diet, I always include in my conversations the devastation of conventionally grown vegetables, the detriments of soy products as a main staple, and the fact that I am not against hunted meat. I choose to stay away from the animal agriculture industry because it is just cruel, and it is killing our biosphere. People try to rebuttal with (but what about palm oil and this and huge corn fields (which are mainly used to feed cattle anyway)) and I say the point is industrial agriculture has gone wild. I think we need to set up a bunch of localized vertical farming towers everywhere and maybe go back to hunting if people really want to enjoy meant. I dunno

3 Years Ago

What is the best protein replacement for meat? I lift weights and don\'t want to lose bodymass. Protein acceptible? Have been contemplating becoming vegetarian.

04 Mar 2018

You can get protein from legumes, beans, quinoa, nuts, soy, and leafy greens. Hope you make the switch !

3 Years Ago

I agree that this discovery should help to curtail peoples appetite for red meat. But clearly just because red meat contains this inflammatory sugar does not mean that all meats should be avoided. I\'m sure white meat is still fine.

3 Years Ago

Grass Fed Organic beef does not cause cancer. You are getting reactions from fed lot raised beef that has all the antibiotics which go up the food chain the food here in the USA is a experiment to see how long we can tolerate the crap they are selling and calling food. Trying to be Vegan is a religion, not a diet that has no health consequences it causes way more health problems then it is helping.

12 Feb 2015

I am a vegan and I am a Christian. I prefer not to eat dead animals and I believe that Jesus Christ is my Redeemer and Saviour. Neither is a "religion".

29 Mar 2015

Your a dumb arse you live longer on a plant based diet, proven fact..... I am the least religous person on this planet but even I know that if there was a god he would not want you to eat his animals.... Its a way of life do you even know what religion is?

Paul Kreitz
3 Years Ago

Can you provide links to the scientific studies concerning this article for validation purposes? Thanks

3 Years Ago

From what I\'ve researched, the high protein content is also highly acidic for our bodies, and this causes health problems for us like cancer, and other diseases.

18 Jul 2016

Was your research done through articles that provided scientific references or just random articles like this one?

3 Years Ago

so where do you get iron then.

04 Jan 2015

Hi Steve! You can Google \'Vegan food that contains iron\', even if you\'re not a vegan. You can search for food containing high amounts of iron at this website: http://nutritiondata.self.com/ Oatmeal, beans, quinoa, some green vegetables, potatoes and other plant foods are high in iron.

Dr Scott B Raphael , TND
10 Feb 2015

Iron is a mineral and is found in soil. Iron is in every plant on the planet and in far greater amounts then any animal

Mary P. Kimberlin
3 Years Ago


3 Years Ago

An eye for an eye, leaves the whole world blind.

3 Years Ago

No not convinced still going to eat red meat its too tasty to give up.

03 Jan 2015

So why do you bother coming here? You have proof meat hurts you, causes serious illness yet you feel the urge to post stupid comment... That says much about you.

03 Jan 2015

Good for you paula. I hope you feel the same way when you are going through chemotherapy. Enjoy the benefits!

08 Jan 2015

Paul, I am sure there are many people in the world who feel the way you do. Smokers feel that way too, even with scientific proof that something is bad for you, could cause cancer etc, you still smoke or eat red meat or whatever. It is your choice. I just wish when you get cancer, be sure to tell people that it was your choice and it was too tasty to give up.

Dr Greenthumb
26 Jan 2015

Shame on the people commenting here who would wish cancer on someone to prove a point.
I\'d like to know your thoughts on a comment posted on this article:


My question would be, was the study done on organic red meat? If not then the results reflect not on meat per se: but on meat produced inhumanely where animals are highly stressed and subject to high doses of antibiotics, medication and chemicals and preservatives in their diet. In addition, such meat is often processed with chemicals which add to the toxic nature of non-organic meat.

If red meat were the issue purely because of itself, as opposed to how it is produced then the following would not be the case:

1. the societies with the best health and longevity are carnivore.
2. the Japanese have one of the highest longevity and some of the best health rates and following the introduction of red meat to Japan after the Second World War, not only did health not decline, people grew substantially taller.
3. some of the lowest rates of cancer and heart disease are in France where people eat large amounts of meat, fats and dairy products. They also smoke and drink wine.

A common factor in all three groups is that people eat meat in moderation and generally it is organic or close to organic in production.

Human beings have eaten meat for millenia. The early settlers in Australia ate large quantities of meat in the first century or so. When Australian soldiers went to fight in the Boer War and the First World War they stood out as taller, stronger and healthier.

In 1900 one in ten people got cancer, now it is one in two. Even in 1900 despite eating vastly greater quantities of meat, Australians were not less healthy - in fact the opposite and they should have been if this research has any substance.

The mass production of meat is barely half a century old and in that time cancer rates and chronic and disease rates in general have escalated. The problem is not meat but production.

29 Mar 2015

So taste is more important then your health, well your a smart one, your comment really does prove that human shows how brain function has gone backwards with the introduction of meat. how about the fact you are putting your taste budds before another living breathing animal, your taste buds are more important then the life of another being....... what a selfish cow.....

18 Jul 2016

Wish I\'d come upon this earlier. Good for you Paula. You have equal if not more chance of living to a ripe old age. I know a lady so convinced her diet would save her from cancer she refused all treatment. Her cancer was curable - end of story - her diet failed her and she died.

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