What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Eating Meat?

Advantages of eating meat include its rich composition of iron and vitamin B6. Disadvantages of eating meat include raising the risk for cardiovascular disease and certain cancers from eating too much meat.

Lean protein is a necessary component of a healthy diet. Certain meats are excellent sources of lean protein, especially when all visible fat is trimmed away. Eating meat is especially important for people who have anemia, because it helps replenish iron stores and build up red blood cells. Red meat consumption may help relieve symptoms of anemia such as rapid heart rate, dizziness, cold extremities and headaches. Eating meat also helps enhance metabolism, which is important when struggling with weight loss.

While occasional meat consumption may offer health benefits, eating too much meat may contribute to elevated levels of low density lipoproteins, or “bad cholesterol.” Furthermore, excessive meat consumption may contribute to impaired renal function, arterial plaque and gouty arthritis. Gout is an inflammatory condition of the joints that causes pain, inflammation and redness. It most often affects the joint of the big toe, and is caused by high levels of uric acid. Meat is a rich source of uric acid, and eating too much of it raises the risk for gout. A well-balanced diet includes lean meats and fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fiber.