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Be well-rounded in diet choices, recommendations

If you further connect the dots, we are indirectly eating a plant-based diet, it’s just that mine comes in the form of a chop or loin, wrapped in bacon.


January 21, 2019

4 Min Read
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Where did we go wrong?

From the very beginning, man has been meat-eaters. I mean look at what happened the first time we tried to mix a fruit into the diet. We’ve been paying for that one ever since, literally since the beginning of time.

But, somewhere along the line we got too pompous for our own britches that some in our midst feel it’s not right to eat meat. These people continue to find groups aligning with their beliefs to perform studies that reach that same conclusion — that meat-eating is bad for people and for the planet.

The latest in this storyline comes from something called the EAT-Lancet Commission, that issued a report telling the world the right foods that are a part of a healthy and sustainable diet, encouraging everyone to be a part of the “Great Food Transformation.”

In the group’s “Brief for Everyone,” people are told “A diet that includes more plant-based foods and fewer animal source foods is healthy, sustainable and good for both people and planet. It is not a question of all or nothing, but rather small changes for a large and positive impact.”

The report goes onto explain, “Today, agriculture occupies nearly 40% of global land, making agroecosystems the largest terrestrial ecosystems on the planet. Food production is responsible for up to 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 70% of freshwater use. Land conversion for food production is the single most important driver of biodiversity loss.”

I’m sure some very smart people were involved in the “fact”-finding for this report, but I believe that there are some very smart people who work at the Environmental Protection Agency who determined that only 2.8% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions came from animal agriculture, and pig farming contributes about 0.35% of the total U.S. GHG emissions.

Obviously, pig farmers need farmers who grow crops that will end up in feed troughs, so our livestock are enjoying the plant-based diet that EAT-Lancet is calling for. So, if you further connect the dots, we are indirectly eating a plant-based diet, it’s just that mine comes in the form of a chop or loin, wrapped in bacon.

In this world of contradictory reports, a report from McMaster University in Canada from last summer says you may stand to live longer if you eat more red meat and cheese.

The study, which involved 220,000 adults, found that you could cut your risk of an early death by one quarter if you would eat three portions of dairy and one and a half portions of unprocessed red meat each day, adding that your chances of suffering a fatal heart attack decreased by 22%.

One thing that the McMaster report includes, that nary an anti-meat report will, is the admission of diversity and moderation, suggesting that a healthy diet should contain plenty of fruits and vegetables, fish and legumes, in addition to the dairy and meat.

The National Pork Producers Council and the North American Meat Institute came out swinging after the EAT-Lancet study report hit the circuit. The NPPC says the study “is based on dubious science and is irresponsible. While two of the report’s concerns are sustainability and undernutrition, its radical recommendations would be counterproductive to both. … There is ample scientific evidence supporting the nutritive value of meat, including pork, which has critical vitamins and minerals, such as B12, Heme iron, zinc and potassium. These often are lacking in many diets, particularly in developing countries.”

KatieRose McCullough, NAMI director of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, says “The report also ignores key facts about food and climate. U.S. farmers and ranchers produce more meat and poultry than ever before, using fewer animals, less land and water, and with a smaller environmental footprint. As a result, animal agriculture accounts for just 4% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Zeroing in on meat production and consumption as a climate change ‘silver bullet’ solution distracts from the many changes that are needed across various sectors to create meaningful improvements.”

It’s too late to turn back time when meat was a part of everyone’s diet, and we will never convince everybody to sit down with a pork chop or a nice ham, with a side of bacon. I just wish that we could get back to a time when we respected one another’s choices. I’ll eat meat, and it’s fine with me if you don’t; there will be more for me.

I do mix in vegetables and fruits into my diet, just don’t try to ram a veggie-only diet down my throat.

About the Author(s)


senior content specialist, National Hog Farmer

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