Cambridge Study Finds Major Health Benefits in Decreased Meat Consumption


New research coming out of Cambridge University suggests cutting meat consumption in half would lead to significant health benefits including a reduction in the number of cases of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

The study is the most recent to advocate a decrease in meat consumption for both human health and environmental benefits. A recent U.S. study found that an 85 gram serving of red meat increased the risks of death related to heart disease by a whopping 18 percent, and death by cancer increased ten percent.

Among the study’s findings, published in the journal BMJ Open, the research team calculated that if men reduced their daily intake of meat from 91 grams to 53 grams, that move alone would result in a 12 percent drop in cases of bowel cancer, a 12 percent decrease in cases of type 2 diabetes and a 10 percent drop in heart disease.

Women, who typically consume less meat than men already, showed slightly fewer, but still significant decreases in the same categories: 8 percent decrease in bowel cancer, 7.5 percent decrease in type 2 diabetes and 6 percent for heart disease.

The research was conducted on British soil, but had it been a U.S. study and the repercussions might have been met with a big backlash from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association who recently called out the USDA for their promotion of the hugely popular Meatless Monday campaign. When the agency announced its support for Meatless Mondays–which includes both health and environmental implications—the NCBA said the agency’s commitment to U.S. cattle ranchers was “in question.” The agency quickly retracted its statement in support of observing a “meatless” day, saying the statement was issued without proper clearance.

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites and, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better.