AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Do You Really Want that Third Piece of Bacon?

This is a picture of a hamburger, which is a form of red meat often consumed by individuals everywhere. Found on Wikimedia Commons.

How many  people do you know that eat bacon every day?

What about a hamburger?

Did you know that the Harvard School of Public Health has recently discovered that red meat consumption can strongly contribute to cardiovascular disease and cancer, ending one’s life prematurely? These days, it is much healthier to eat “poultry, nuts, fish and legumes.” We need alternative sources of protein.

According to Nutrition researcher and author An Pan, who works at the Harvard School of Public Health,

“…eating high amounts of red meat has been associated with type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and certain cancers in other studies.”

It is scary to think that every time someone consumes red meat daily, there is a 13% increased chance of death. Eating processed meat is even worse because if eaten daily, there is a 20% increased chance of death. Every time someone consumes heme iron, carcinogens that are released from the meat during cooking, saturated fat, sodium and nitrates from his or her steak, these risk percentages rise. It has been researched that these risks can be weighted more heavily depending on “age, body mass index, family history of heart disease or major cancers.”

Now, we know that the protein replacements of fish (7%), poultry (14%), nuts (19%), legumes (10%), low-fat dairy products (10%) and whole grain (14%) have great percentages for lower risks of premature death. If people “eat less than 0.5 serving per day of red meat, 9.3% of deaths in men and 7.6% of deaths in women can be prevented.”

Mortality is an important factor for every individual to consider. Why waste life away to eat a slice of bacon each morning?



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  1. nicleus2

    This article upset me a little because I myself am a lover of red meats. I eat bacon almost every morning on my sandwich and eat red meat in other forms almost daily. I do agree with many of the negative effects caused by red meat. However, I believe that there are also many positives. Here’s an article explaining some of the reasons to eat red meat, including how its a great source of protein, iron, zinc and other vitamins. Check it out!

  2. buddhabear28

    This article is not only scary but upsetting, seeing as though I am a bacon lover. Fortunately, I don’t have it everyday but when I do have it, I tend to have too much. There were many harmful effects that you listed that were related to eating red meat daily, yet I am specifically curious in the relationship between red meant and cholesterol as I have a friend who is not allowed to eat red meat due to a history of high cholesterol in her family.
    Check it out!

  3. lp719

    As a huge red meat lover, this article really scared me. I consider bacon and cheese burgers some of my favorite foods. I had no idea that carcinogens are released from the meat during cooking, so I researched if there were any way to rid the meat of the carcinogens during the cooking process. I found an article that says that there are 5 ways to reduce carcinogens in cooked meat just by adding different foods while cooking the meat. I know that I won’t be able to give up red meat, so I will definitely use these tips to protect my health while satisfying my meat craving.
    Check it out!

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