Is Meat Bad for You? Is Meat Unhealthy?

When our vegetarian ancestors started
eating meat around two million years ago, it wasn’t just because animals taste great, it was pure necessity. Climate change made many of the plants our ancestors
relied on less available and meat bridged that gap. From the discovery of fire at the latest,
meat became a staple of the human diet. But over the last few years eating meat has
increasingly been associated with health risks like: heart disease, certain cancers, and an early death. So how unhealthy is meat, really? In this video we’ll only talk about meat. Dairy products deserve a video of their own. Biologically, we need to eat for three reasons: for energy, to acquire materials to fabricate our cells, and to get special molecules
that our bodies can’t make themselves. The energy and most of the materials come from the
three macronutrients: fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Proteins are the most important resource for
repairing and replenishing our cell structures. The special molecules are a large variety of vitamins
and minerals we need to drive metabolic processes. Meat provides us with most of these things. It contains all essential amino acids
our body needs and a lot of minerals like: iron, zinc and essential vitamins, some of which are
barely found in plants like Vitamin B12. Only one essential nutrient is missing
in most of the meat we consume: vitamin C. It appears in almost all plants
and supports our immune system as well as the development of connective tissues. After a few months without it you’d get scurvy. But meat has another big advantage,
it’s high bioavailability. Some of the nutrients in meat are broken down
faster and available quicker than those from plants. Spinach for example, contains more iron than meat,
but it’s absorbed much slower and the body needs more energy to digest it. Several health benefits have also been
observed in communities that rely solely on meat. The Inuit for example, are able to survive in extreme
climate conditions thanks to a purely meat-based diet. Since they consume the whole animal including
the organs, they get every single nutrient they need including vitamin C. So meat itself is definitely not dangerous for us. But its health effects vary, depending on
how its prepared and what animal it comes from. When talking about meat in the Western world, we generally mean muscle tissues
that have a high nutrient density, but also lack some of the vitamins that
make it possible to survive on meat alone. The most healthy animals to eat are probably fish. Fish contains polyunsaturated fatty acids like omega-3, which may lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases
and support anti-inflammatory immune functions. As part of a balanced diet,
fish can be eaten regularly without worries. Eating fish comes with its own bag of complications though, like overfishing and the destruction of the oceans. We’ll talk about that in another video. A close second is the most popular meat, chicken. It’s regarded as the meat with the fewest health risks. The only negative health effect
of poultry is a bit controversial: fat. It’s high content of saturated fats is associated with a
higher cholesterol level and cardiovascular disease. But this idea has also been criticized
by a large number of scientists arguing high cholesterol levels might be
inherited and not caused by nutrition. So in general, if you want meat and are
concerned about your health, go for chicken. Things start to get problematic with high intakes of
red meats like beef, veal, pork, lamb, horse and goat. A recently published study recommends for
example a maximum of 23 grams of red meat per day which is a very small steak per week. However, large-scale meta-analysis studies have shown that eating 100 grams of red meat every day increases the risk of diabetes by 19%,
of strokes by 11% and of colorectal cancer by 17%. This sounds alarming. But before we panic,
let’s have a look at how these studies were conducted. Because this brings us to the second big problem
when trying to answer the question of whether meat is unhealthy or not. Most studies that linked health risks to
eating red meat were case-control studies. Which means taking a group of people with a disease
and classifying them by their eating habits. The more red meat they consume, the more likely
they were to contract certain diseases. The problem is that it’s very hard
to eliminate other factors. People who eat less meat tend to
live a healthier lifestyle in general. They tend to eat more vegetables and fruit
and are less likely to smoke and drink alcohol. Most studies try to eliminate these factors,
but it’s extremely hard to make definitive statements. Things get worse when
we look at processed meat though. Processing meat means adding certain chemicals by curing, smoking, sorting or fermenting or in other words making it delicious. Bacon, ham, salami, sausages and hot dogs
contain chemicals that are harmful for us like nitrates and nitrites that can damage the DNA
in our digestive system and lead to cancer. The w-h-o reviewed 800 studies over 20 years, and concluded that processed wheat is strongly
linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer. Each extra 50 grams of processed meat per day
increases your risk of cancer by 18 percent. When it comes to cancer risk, processed meat is now in the same category as plutonium, asbestos and smoking. The w-h-o highlights that it’s research is
only about the question of whether or not something causes cancer and not to what extent. But processed meat may also significantly
increase the chance of suffering from diabetes, strokes and coronary heart diseases. It also makes a difference what sort of life
our meat lived when it was still part of a living being. It’s common to feed large
amounts of antibiotics to livestock in order to prevent diseases
which can spread antibiotic resistance. Combined, a high consumption of
both red and processed meat could increase your chance of
premature death by up to 29%. This means if your chance of dying
is at 3% this year, it’s now 4%. This might not sound like a lot but tiny percentages
have a huge impact on societies of millions. They also seem harmless until they affect you. To blame meat alone for
bad health would be wrong though. There is no evidence that the very essence of meat
has any negative effect beyond it’s high fat content. And even this point is highly contentious. Just like with many other pleasures in life,
sometimes too much of a good thing is harmful. Most public health agencies suggest cutting
meat consumption to 500 grams a week while studies suggest cutting down
processed meat as much as possible. So if you feast on meat no more than once
or twice a week, you should be good. For most people this already means
a drastic change in their diets though, The average American consumes around
almost 1600 grams of meat a week. The average German 1100 grams a week. And many of us needs much much more. If you’re not really sure, make a small note
whenever you eat meat for a week or two. You’ll be surprised how much it really is. So most people watching this video
would benefit from cutting down on meat. Aside from health concerns, there’s still the fact that the meat industry is
one of the largest contributors to climate change and has reached a scale where it’s
impossible to deliver millions of tons of meat and still treat animals with dignity. We’ve already discussed that in detail in another video. All in all, in moderation, meat is not unhealthy
and you don’t need to become vegetarian overnight to have a real impact on your health and the planet. But your lifestyle choices do matter. For yourself and for others. The key is being open to
trying something new once in a while. Maybe you’ll discover your new favourite dish. Until you try you’ll never know what
you’ll enjoy or what you’re capable of. Maybe after watching hours of Kurzgesagt videos, you’ve decided you’d like to learn how to animate. Now you might not know this, but most of our team
actually has a graphic design background. Learning about design principles first before we got
into animation was really key to where we are today. There’s a really great new Skillshare class
on using Adobe Illustrator, The software we use to create artwork
by graphic designer Aaron Draplin and we can personally recommend it. It’s full of great tips to help understand and
simplify a very complicated program. If you want to do more afterwards, we have
three animation courses of our own on Skillshare too. Skillshare offers over 25,000 classes on topics like film and video editing, writing, design and
technology from an array of skilled experts. With the Premium Membership, you can
access all of them for only $10 a month. And as a bonus, the first 1000 Kurzgesagt
viewers to use the link in the description, will get their first two months of Skillshare for free.

100 thoughts on “Is Meat Bad for You? Is Meat Unhealthy?

  1. Here are our sources: It is very fascinating to see that the both extremes, vegans and people on meat heavy diets hate this video. Usually we are attacked more from one direction – in this cases both ends of the spectrums are really upset. Anything relating to nutrition is very controversial unfortunately. Someone on twitter posted this: There is research showing strong links between dietary choices and social identity:

    So if you want to, you can find sources telling you that every kind of diet is bad for you. We tried very hard not to do that and get a real understanding what the health effects of meat are. We also did not have a particular bias, we have vegetarians, flexitarians and meat eaters in the team. And in general, since our first meat video many of us have reduced their meat consumption or at least try to. Others in the team have not changed at all and don't plan to. We don't have an overarching agenda here, one way or the other. There is a video about milk in the making right now and we also just started a video about veganism. Look forward to more diet related videos next year.

  2. Is it possible to substitute meat completely with vegetables, fruit and/or greens? If the answer is yes, then what products are best substitute?

  3. Meat has all the molecules your body needs including fat. It's the extra stuff we put on meat that harms us. What we feed our animals and the crap we inject them with. Then how we prepare the meat, again we add extra chemicals to our meat supply that makes it unhealthy. This is why the Inuit suffer from almost zero dietary problems, because their meat is pure (minus the ocean pollution). The number 1 dietary killer is sugar and carbohydrates. Sugar and carbs inflame your body which is primarily responsible for heart attacks, strokes, cancers, etc. You want to be healthy? Eat clean meat and avoid as much sugar and carbs as you can. Get plenty of Omega3 fats and you're good to go.

  4. In USA people eat a lot of bacon its so nasty so many fat people i traveled to Germany and i could not find 1 fat person i thing Americans eat a lot of junk food 1# processed bacon is so dangerous for people!!

  5. Meat is certainly better for me than the animals I eat. And I'm generally healthier than they are, when I eat them.

  6. All I do is work smoke weed workout have sex and watch youtbe…in between pondering the purpose of one's life work and thus meaning of said life…Of all the channels and videos on these kinds of topics you guys are the very best. Easily in the top tier. Explained well and clear entertaining and balanced. Production value is great, u should do a DVD or blue ray set. Thanks…

  7. If you eat the "awful" meats it's better. Liver, kidneys, tongue, etc … Those are more nutritious, less fatty and also cheaper!
    I personally eat red cow meat twice a week, preferring less fatty cuts or "awful" meats. I don't eat pork at all and eat sheep, veal, processed or exotic meats so seldomly I could count them with my fingers.
    I was a vegetarian for years, but my health was not the best.

  8. video content: intelligence and learn
    comment content: meme and crap
    moral of the history:watch the video istead of comment

  9. Thank you so much Kurzgesagt. Im 13 and i was close to the overweight chart but this video has convinced me to stop eating so much chicken per week, from 4-5 to 2 times per week, and i've seen a lot of good improvements

  10. There is no single double blind study ever made which proves fat is in any way bad
    Only bad fat is processed fat
    All vegetable (let's call it right – seed) fat is a chemically processed poison
    Fat which you can squeeze yourself is generally healthy (virgin olive oil)
    Fat from animals are healthy too
    Generally all saturated fat is healthy and actually essential
    All animal cell walls are made of fat – saturated fat – mostly what is contained in coconut oil and cacao butter

  11. Sorry but I have a counter argument for this if meat is unhealthy for humanity how did mankind survive for millennia if meat is on healthy mankind would’ve died around about the beginning of man and tell me we wouldn’t be here today complaining about what is good and what is not beside this is actually a trending “hoax” if you will maybe by peta maybe by other vegan like companies but that I’m just saying

  12. Stop it. C02 or Methane does not drive the climate, they warm w no forcing. You guys are going to seem so silly in a decade or so. Lol.

  13. About to take the first bite of a steak
    Kurzgesagt: Meat can cause cancer, heart disease, and strokes
    Me: Well im eating meat once a week now…

  14. I wonder how come my grandma lived to 103 year's old by eating natural steak. Sidenote she owned a farm thats how she got the natural meat.

  15. I eat meat everyday. Tasty Mett in the morning, then some breads with salami, ham or sausage and in the evening a good Schnitzel or steak.

  16. wrong. good research but wrong conclusions. eating meat is the worst thing ever. watch earthling eds and dr.gregers videos. I am vegan and know what Im talking about.

  17. I learn way more from this video then school
    I told it to my parents
    They made me quit school
    That’s how to get rid of being in school

  18. I just want to eat delicious foods, and most of those foods contain meat in the dishes💔 I eat meat pretty much every day!!

  19. I have an uncle that eats hotdog at lunch and salami with bread at dinner everyday since he is 29 and he is a healthy 80 year old

  20. Diabetes type one and 2 are both genetic type one is only gens and type 2 u need to have a sretian gen to have it it like it will only be a thing if u had a bad diet and the gen u get it if u don’t have the gen u will probably never get it

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