UK Meat Consumption on a Downward Trend

17% reduction in meat consumption is great news for cows


We Collectively Eat 17% Less Meat than a Decade Ago

It is not only the total amount of meat you consume that has a positive effect on your health – the type of meats you eat really matters.

A new study released by the Lancet Journal of Planetary Health shows that overall meat consumption has plummeted compared to a decade ago. On average, adult meat consumption has gone down by 17%. When you dig into the details you will find a move away from red meats to chicken provides an extra health boost.

Red, White and Processed Meat Consumption

For years there was ‘war on fat’ in the corporate press. This turns out to have been a huge negative for the nation’s health. By substituting processed foods, full of sugar, salt, and chemicals – our health suffered.

Red meat, especially beef, is still associated with heart health. Natural, single-chain fats are vital in moderation. This makes the sensible reduction in overall meat eating a huge positive. A balanced, natural diet, rich in lean meat, leafy greens and low in carbohydrates is a boost to long-term health outcomes.

Processed foods are poison. Study after study confirms this. When you think of meat, choose a balance of white and red. If you do eat low quality processed foods, make this a rare ‘treat,’ not part of your everyday diet.

Meat Consumption Down

Personal Anecdotes: Actively Trying to Reduce Meat Consumption

With 40% of adults in this 15,000-person study stating that they are actively trying to reduce meat consumption – a personal anecdote fits perfectly here.

My wife and I both made a New Year resolution in two parts on this topic at the start of 2021.

  • Part 1: Gradually reduce meat consumption to 50% of its previous level.
  • Part 2: Make this so normal, that we do not need to think about it.

I’m happy to report that as of October, part 2 has been achieved. My lunches are salads with falafels, olives, or feta cheese (to pick some examples). Veggie curry, Turkish eggs and omelettes are regular fixtures for tea… even halloumi burgers make an appearance.

We still enjoy a filet mignon (medium rare please). Though this is for a special night out. Overall, our meat consumption has plummeted. Combined with intermittent fasting, low-carbs and cutting out anything with added sugar, I feel great! All of this means nothing without exercise of course… whether lifting weights or a session on the rowing machine, regular workouts are important.

Back to the Study: Environmental Factors

Let’s cut to the chase; cows fart all day. It is not their fault. That grass gets digested in multiple stomachs. They maintain a biomass that breaks this down, with methane an ever-present by product.

While all meat has an environmental cost, beef is by far the worst.

Attempts have been made to reign this in. Experimental diets involving seaweed or supplements have not fixed the problem. Every beef dish you eat has a major environmental cost. Other animals including sheep and pigs have significant impacts too. Even a humble chicken is not ‘green.’ Though when you compare this pound for pound, there is a gigantic difference.

Eat Greens Not Meat

The Direction is Clear: Generational Factors

As the baby boomer generation is gradually replaced by Millennials and Gen Z, the downward trend in meat consumption can only continue.

If you are one of the 40% who are considering this, then a great time to start is right now. You will be conscious of eating non-meat dishes for a while. The real benefits come when you eat a balanced diet without even seeing whether you missed out on meat for any one meal.

Your overall health and fitness will benefit too.

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