White Meat Black Mark
White meat – from chicken, ducks, turkey and geese – has become the most popular meat in the West. The average person will eat at least 1,226 birds in their lifetime.
Chicken in the most popular and accounts for one third of all meat consumed in the UK. Recent food scares including bird flu knocked sales a bit, but the birds’ ‘healthy’ image remains largely untarnished.
“I don't eat a lot of meat...”
Even small amounts of white meat can be detrimental to health. Just one serving of meat per week could significantly increase your risk of diabetes and can raise your cholesterol levels too. Those who eat white meat less than once a week may face a higher risk of bowel cancer than non meat-eaters.
Cancer-promoting compounds are produced every time that meat is cooked to a high enough temperature to kill off food poisoning bacteria. Even low doses of these compounds have been shown to mutate human DNA, which could lead to cancer.
Eating just small amounts of meat also has a huge impact on the environment. People who eat meat produce 988 kilograms (roughly one tonne) more global warming gases each year! Just by skipping one meal of chicken per week and substituting vegetarian foods, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off U.S. roads.
Research links white meat consumption to an increased risk of many serious health problems and diseases. For more information on the health consequences of eating white meat, read the Viva!Health's scientific report, White Meat Black Mark.
White Meat Myths
White meat is perceived to be...
something to be eaten in quantity by top athletes
essential for building muscle
essential for children’s growth
Organic meat is not even close to being low-fat – even after removing the skin and scraping away the subcutaneous fat. A medium-sized chicken contains almost a pint of fat! And contrary to popular opinion, animal protein is not essential for building muscle or for children’s growth.
White meat contains no fibre, complex carbohydrates, nor vitamin C.
There are however a number of tasty, healthy – and environmentally friendly – meat-free alternatives. For more nutritional information and recipes, read Viva!Health's guide, White Meat Myths.