Red meat consumption drops 17% in a decade, but it's not enough 1 month ago

Red meat consumption drops 17% in a decade, but it's not enough

The figures are positive but there's still a lot of work to do

UK residents have cut their meat consumption by 17 per cent over the past decade - but experts have warned that our efforts will need to double if we are to meet targets.

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Though red meat consumption in the UK has dropped, we still need to reduce it by a further 30 per cent to reach the targets set by the National Food Strategy earlier this year, reports the Guardian.

The production of meat is a huge contributor to global warming and land degradation. Red meat has also been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and even cancer. To combat this, National Food Strategy for England has recommended we drop our meat consumption by 30 per cent over the next decade.

A report published in the journal Lancet Planetary Health discovered that between 2008-2009 and 2018-2019 people's average meat consumption decreased from 103g per person a day to 86g. This reduction equates to roughly 17g or 17 per cent - and for perspective, this would be about two and a half fewer sausages a week.

There was an increase of 3.2g in the consumption of white meat, however.

“I think the reductions that we’re seeing are positive, but we’re moving pretty slowly, and if we continue reducing our intake at the same rate, we’re not really going to be reaching these dietary targets," said Cristina Stewart, a health behaviours researcher at the University of Oxford.

White meat does have a lower environmental impact than red meat but plant-based options are clearly the best course of action.

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Victoria Taylor, senior dietitian at the British Heart Foundation said: “While it’s encouraging to see more people are starting to eat less red and processed meat, we know that some people are still eating more than the recommended maximum of 70g per day, putting them at greater risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases."

She continued to talk about the innate benefits of plant-based proteins like lentils, which have a greater health benefit and a significantly less environmental impact.

“We need to look beyond meat to benefit from the full range of protein sources available to us. Including plant-based proteins like beans, lentils, nuts and seeds, or using these to bulk out meat dishes can be a healthy way to cut down on the amount of red and processed meat you are eating.”

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