“Eating meat kills.” In an article presented in Norwegian Refugee Council Peter Stockers, a gastroenterologist at OLVG in Amsterdam, submitted a proposal last Friday for a warning on meat packages. Just like on cigarette packs. Because eating meat also poses health risks, he says.
In the article, he also addressed his colleagues. “Doctors eating meat croquettes in the cafeteria look like the smoking doctor in the 1960s: unbelievable,” he wrote.
The doctor gets into the matter with great difficulty. His most important point is that the unhealthy aspect of eating meat does not receive enough attention. It earned him support and criticism on social media. Which, by the way, he didn’t get any of. “I am no longer active on social media,” he told RTL News. “I’ve received a lot of responses from my colleagues. In fact, it’s only been positive.”
The reason for writing the article was that a piece of rabbit got stuck in the esophagus of a patient. Flappy’s revenge, he thought. Moreover, this incident has little to do with his argument. “It was more to suspend the story.”
What’s so unhealthy?
So what is the problem? What’s unhealthy about eating meat? Anyone who consults the Five Wheel of the Nutrition Centre, the authority on healthy, sustainable and safe eating, will still see meat as an option. “It’s remarkable that they haven’t gotten rid of that yet,” Stockers says.
But if you look closely, you’ll also see that the Nutrition Center now warns: “Eat more plant foods and not as much meat,” he says.
This is actually what Stalkers means. “I don’t want to deprive the elderly of pickled sausages. I just want to point out that the story that eating meat is healthy is not true.”
Risk of cancer
The doctor summarizes; Cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and worn-out knees. Autoimmune diseases. These are all problems associated with eating too much meat. He calls them “diseases of prosperity.” “It is known that red meat and processed meat increase the risk of cancer. All this together makes me say: we should eat less meat. This is scientifically proven.”
So, eating less meat, seems a bit less strict. This is also the position of the nutrition center. “It’s better for your health and the environment not to eat too much meat,” says Iris Groenenberg, a nutrition and health expert. It recommends eating no more than 500 grams of meat per week. The average meat eater is much higher than that, with men ages 65 to 79 eating 102 grams per day. 128 grams daily.
Dutch eat Meat 90 percent of the daysAccording to research conducted by RIVM. This mainly concerns processed meats. Processed meats such as deli meats have been linked to stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer. People have also been wary of red meat for years: Every additional 100 grams of red meat per day is linked to a 17 percent increased risk of colon cancer. Too much red or processed meat costs you annually €1.1 billion additional healthcare costsaccording to one of the researchers in Wageningen.
However, meat can fit into a healthy diet, says the Nutrition Center’s Groenenberg. Meat provides nutrients such as protein, iron and vitamin B12. But be careful: If you eat meat, it’s best to choose lean, unprocessed meat.
A large amount of calories
So not much. Stoker says alleviating this seems very difficult for many people. Hence his story in the newspaper. “A hamburger contains a huge amount of calories. That’s why we’re obese: we get too much energy and burn too little. And then all the misery begins. From flabby hips to cardiovascular disease. While you’re a plant-based diet provides Low calories but it satisfies you and does not make you fat.
“You can also eat healthy without meat,” says the Nutrition Center’s Groenenberg. You can replace meat, for example, with legumes, eggs, unsalted nuts and tofu. Please note: We are not talking about vegans here, but about vegans who still eat animal products such as eggs.
Also a health warning for vegetarians: Prepared meat substitutes don’t always contain enough protein and other nutrients. “These are also often very salty.”
“You can eat healthy meat, and you can also eat it without meat.”
How much do you agree with the OLVG doctor’s story? “We think broadly in the same way, without wanting to take a piece of meat away from people,” she says. “You don’t need meat. We encourage people to eat more plant-based foods. You can eat healthy meat, and you can also eat meatless. But we should all eat less meat for ourselves and for the environment.”
Consequences for the environment and climate: This was a factor in OLVG doctor Stockers’ decision to become vegan. He says the increasing demand for meat is leading to deforestation and the disappearance of rainforests. “By eating steak you are destroying nature and putting a disproportionate burden on the Earth.”
Despite the positive reaction to his argument in the newspaper, Stockers does not expect people to suddenly remove meat from the Christmas menu. “Just like smoking, it doesn’t happen overnight.”
If you’re interested in a vegetarian Christmas menu, the Nutrition Center has one Two designers.
“Travel enthusiast. Alcohol lover. Friendly entrepreneur. Coffeeaholic. Award-winning writer.”