Viva! Health

  • Viva!Health reveals...Read more

  • References

    Abid Z, Cross AJ and Sinha R. 2014. Meat, dairy, and cancer. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 100 Suppl 1:386S-93S.

    Adams PC, Kertesz AE and Valberg LS. 1991. Clinical presentation of hemochromatosis: a changing scene. American Journal of Medecine. 90, 445-9.

    Ahmad AS, Ormiston-Smith N and Sasieni PD. 2015. Trends in the lifetime risk of developing cancer in Great Britain: comparison of risk for those born from 1930 to 1960. British Journal of Cancer. 112 (5) 943-947.  

  • Conclusion

    We are told to limit the amount of red and processed meat we eat – chicken is completely ignored. This is not good enough; the government should be encouraging people to replace meat with healthier plant-based protein. The WCRF and WHO have both issued clear warnings about meat and cancer; they have not minced their words! They say processed meats (including processed white meats made from chicken and turkey) do cause cancer and red meat probably does too.

  • The meat-free market is thriving

    As meat consumption falls, the vegetarian and vegan food market is rapidly expanding. Market researchers Mintel say that the number of new vegetarian and vegan food and drink products doubled between 2009 and 2013 (Mintel, 2014). They say that 12 per cent of global food and drink products launched in 2013 carried a vegetarian claim, up from six per cent in 2009, and two per cent of global food and drink launches carried a vegan claim in 2013, up from one per cent in 2009.

  • Who eats meat? Comparing carnivores and global intakes

    The amount of meat people eat varies widely around the world. The Food and Agriculture Organisation Corporate Statistical Database (FAOSTAT) website disseminates statistical data collected and maintained by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. They produce food balance sheets presenting a comprehensive picture of the pattern of a country’s food supply during a specified period.  

    Figure 6.0 Annual meat consumption (kg per person) for 2011 for selected countries.

  • Vitamin B12

    All B vitamins help the body produce energy from food. Vitamin B12 also helps maintain healthy nerve cells and helps in the production of DNA, the body’s genetic material. B12 works closely with folate, to make red blood cells, to help iron work better in the body and to produce a compound involved in immune function and mood.

  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

    Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) has several important functions, including helping the body use and store energy from protein and carbohydrates in food. It also helps to form haemoglobin (the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body). The RNI for vitamin B6 is 1.4mg a day for men and 1.2mg a day for women. The government say that you should not take more than 10mg of vitamin B6 a day in supplements unless advised to by a doctor. Taking more than 200mg a day of vitamin B6 for a long time can lead to a loss of feeling in the arms and legs (peripheral neuropathy).

  • Vitamin B3 (niacin)

    Niacin (vitamin B3 or nicotinic acid), has several important functions, including helping to release energy from the foods we eat and helping to keep the nervous systems and skin healthy. The RNI for niacin is 17mg a day for men and 13mg for women. There are two forms of niacin: nicotinic acid and nicotinamide, both of which are found in food. Taking high doses of nicotinic acid supplements can cause skin flushes and taking high doses for a long time could lead to liver damage (NHS Choices, 2015a).

  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

    Riboflavin helps keep skin, eyes and the nervous system healthy and helps the body release energy from the food we eat. The RNI for riboflavin is 1.3mg a day for men and 1.1mg a day for women (NHS Choices, 2015a). Riboflavin cannot be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day. If you take supplements, do not take too much, because this might be harmful. The government say that 40mg or less a day of riboflavin supplements is unlikely to cause any harm (NHS Choices, 2015a). 

  • Phosphorus

    Phosphorus is a mineral that helps to build strong bones and teeth and helps to release energy from food. Phosphorus is abundant in most diets and deficiencies are highly unlikely. The RNI for adult women and men is 550mg of phosphorus per day.

    Too much can be harmful. Taking high doses of phosphorus supplements for a short time can cause diarrhoea or stomach pain. Taking high doses for a long time can reduce the amount of calcium in the body, making bones more prone to fracture.

  • Selenium

    Selenium is a trace element that is essential for a wide range of biochemical functions within the body. It plays an important role in our immune system and in reproduction. It also helps to prevent damage to cells and tissues.

    The RNI for adults is 75μg a day for men and 60μg a day for women. High intakes of selenium can be toxic. The Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals (EVM) set a safe upper limit for selenium intake at 450µg per day, in North America the upper level of tolerable intake is set slightly lower at 400µg per day (SACN, 2013).

  • Zinc

    Zinc is an essential trace element that has several important functions; it helps to make new cells and enzymes, helps us process carbohydrate, fat and protein in food, strengthens the immune system and can help with the healing of wounds. Zinc may inhibit the replication of the rhinovirus; the most frequent cause of common cold symptoms. A 2011 Cochrane review suggests that taking zinc supplements within a day of the symptoms starting can speed up recovery and lessen the severity of a cold (Singh and Das, 2011).

  • Iron

    Anaemia and iron overload are two of the most prevalent disorders worldwide and affect over a billion people.” Anderson and Shah, 2013.

  • Fat

    All fat has nine calories per gram, twice as many calories as carbohydrates and protein. However, not all fats are ‘bad’. We need a moderate amount of unsaturated so-called ‘good’ fats in the diet. These types of fat are essential for cell membranes, eyes, the brain and metabolic functions. These healthy fats are plentiful in plant foods such as nuts, seeds and their oils, avocados and soya foods. Green leafy vegetables contain them too, but not much as they are a very low-fat food.     

  • Environment

    Livestock farming requires vast amounts of land, water and fuel, harms biodiversity and leads to species extinctions. It devastates ecosystems, pollutes oceans, rivers, seas and air, uses up water, oil and coal and contributes to climate change. It causes about one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Evolution and the Paleo diet myth

    Wheat-eaters or meat-eaters?

    Carnivores (such as cats, dogs and wolves) have strong jaws that can only move open and shut and sharp teeth and claws to tear off chunks of raw meat and ‘wolf’ them down. Their acidic stomachs help digest flesh and short intestines allow the quick expulsion of rotting meat remains. On the other hand, herbivores (such as rabbits, horses and sheep) chew from side-to-side, their saliva contains digestive enzymes and they have longer intestines to absorb nutrients.


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