Full disclosure: I’m a vegetarian and an aspiring vegan. That being said, I believe that it is very natural to eat meat. We’ve been doing it forever. Animals eat other animals. Very natural. What isn’t natural or good is how much meat we do eat. Read on to see what I learned about our protein habits!
Here are my sources, for anybody interested in digging in to assess the validity of the infographic or just to learn more.
Recommended protein consumption via choosemyplate.gov:
- What counts as an ounce? http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/proteinfoods_counts_table.html
- How much is needed? http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/proteinfoods_amount_table.html
- Definition of ‘ounce equivalent’: “What counts as an ounce equivalent in the Protein Foods Group? In general, 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup cooked beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or ½ ounce of nuts or seeds can be considered as 1 ounce equivalent from the Protein Foods Group.”
- Note regarding the USDA’s recommendation for protein consumption: “These amounts are appropriate for individuals who get less than 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity, beyond normal daily activities. Those who are more physically active may be able to consume more while staying within calorie needs.”
Per capita consumption of livestock/meat products, table A3: http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/i0680e/i0680e.pdf
Stats about water & fossil fuel consumption due to animal vs plant proteins, page 3 & page 4: http://www.ajcn.org/content/78/3/660S.full.pdf
Stat about erosion due to livestock: ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/a0701e/a0701e.pdf – “In the United States, livestock are responsible for an estimated 55 percent of erosion”
Stats about livespan relative to red meat consumption: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/study-urges-moderation-in-red-meat-intake-201203134490 and http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1134845 : “Red Meat Consumption and Mortality”
Kidney impact, dehydration, calcium loss from too much protein:
http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/mar03/osteo0303.htm – osteo link
But, eating meat is ok in moderation: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/pyramid-full-story/index.html – “So it’s best to avoid processed meat, and to limit red meat to no more than twice a week.”
Protein completeness data: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/10352/2
Stat regarding reduced carbon emissions as the result of eating less meat: http://psufoodscience.typepad.com/psu_food_science/files/es702969f.pdf