The Mayo Clinic explains that meat is a valuable source of protein, vitamin B 12, iron, zinc and other essential nutrients, but it can also be a source of unhealthy fat and cholesterol. These negative aspects of meat are especially prominent when consuming fat-laden and heavily processed cuts.
The Mayo Clinic suggests choosing lean cuts of meat and preparing them using low-fat cooking methods to minimize the health risks associated with consuming fatty, processed animal products. ProCon.org notes that meat is one of the most convenient protein sources available and supplies all of the essential amino acids necessary for cells to grow and develop. ProCon.org also notes that proponents of meat-based diets believe that eating meat is a natural part of a human's life cycle and has helped humans evolve into beings with large brains and high levels of intelligence.
Many proponents of vegetarianism believe that consuming meat increases a person's chance of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and other diet-related illnesses, according to ProCon.org. Vegetarian diets can also reduce a person's risk of developing kidney stones and gallstones, which are more common in individuals who consume large amounts of animal proteins. Many supporters of vegetarianism also believe that eating meat is unethical since the majority of animals slaughtered for consumption experience pain, stress and fear.
According to the National Institutes of Health, it is possible for those who follow vegetarian diets to meet all of their nutritional needs.