Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Meatitarianism

I used to jokingly tell people I'm a meatitarian. My attitude has generally been, I like meat. I don't care where it comes from. I don't care how it is raised. Kill it, cook it, eat it.

This book, Diet For A New America, is changing that, however. John Robbins (the heir to the Baskin-Robbins empire who walked away from it all to promote healthy food choices) uncovers study after study in this book that amounts to a mass of scientific research on the effects of diet on our health and on our planet. Robbins also does a good job of making clear how the scientific community has long been battled by the Meat and Dairy Industries, who patently ignore, contradict and criticize the prevalent medical evidence to promote their own sales through misleading advertising, 'educational' campaigns and outright deception.

This book is remarkably impacting. Accoring to Google Books, since its publication in 1987 American consumption of beef has fallen by 19%. Arthritis, MS, diabetes, asthma, cancer and hypertension are but a few of the conditions on which the impact of diet is documented by extensive research.

Here is a distilled version of some of the facts from the well-documented book. Please read it.
  • Number of people worldwide who will die as a result of malnutrition this year: 20 million
  • Number of people who could be adequately fed using land freed if Americans reduced their intake of meat by 10%: 100 million
  • Percentage of corn grown in the U.S. eaten by people: 20
  • Percentage of corn grown in the U.S. eaten by livestock: 80
  • Percentage of oats grown in the U.S. eaten by livestock: 95
  • Percentage of protein wasted by cycling grain through livestock: 90
  • How frequently a child dies as a result of malnutrition: every 2.3 seconds
  • Pounds of potatoes that can be grown on an acre: 40,000
  • Pounds of beef produced on an acre: 250
  • Percentage of U.S. farmland devoted to beef production: 56
  • Pounds of grain and soybeans needed to produce a pound of edible flesh from feedlot beef: 16
  • Cause of global warming: greenhouse effect
  • Primary cause of greenhouse effect: carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels
  • Percentage of greenhouse gases from livestock: 18%
  • Fossil fuels needed to produce meat-centered diet vs. a meat-free diet: 3 times more
  • Percentage of U.S. topsoil lost to date: 75
  • Percentage of U.S. topsoil loss directly related to livestock raising: 85
  • Number of acres of U.S. forest cleared for cropland to produce meat-centered diet: 260 million
  • Amount of meat imported to U.S. annually from Central and South America: 300,000,000 pounds
  • Percentage of Central American children under the age of five who are undernourished: 75
  • Area of tropical rainforest consumed in every quarter-pound of rainforest beef: 55 square feet
  • Current rate of species extinction due to destruction of tropical rainforests for meat grazing and other uses: 1,000 per year
  • Increased risk of breast cancer for women who eat meat daily compared to less than once a week: 3.8 times
  • For women who eat eggs daily compared to once a week: 2.8 times
  • For women who eat butter and cheese 2-4 times a week: 3.25 times
  • Increased risk of fatal ovarian cancer for women who eat eggs 3 or more times a week vs. less than once a week: 3 times
  • Increased risk of fatal prostate cancer for men who consume meat, cheese, eggs and milk daily vs. sparingly or not at all: 3.6 times.
  • Number of U.S. medical schools: 125
  • Number requiring a course in nutrition: 30
  • Nutrition training received by average U.S. physician during four years in medical school: 2.5 hours
  • Most common cause of death in the U.S.: heart attack
  • How frequently a heart attack kills in the U.S.: every 45 seconds
  • Average U.S. man's risk of death from heart attack: 50 percent
  • Risk of average U.S. man who eats no meat: 15 percent
  • Risk of average U.S. man who eats no meat, dairy or eggs: 4 percent
  • Amount you reduce risk of heart attack if you reduce consumption of meat, dairy and eggs by 10 percent: 9 percent
  • Amount you reduce risk of heart attack if you reduce consumption by 50 percent: 45 percent
  • Amount you reduce risk if you eliminate meat, dairy and eggs from your diet: 90 percent
  • Average cholesterol level of people eating meat-centered-diet: 210 mg/dl
  • Chance of dying from heart disease if you are male and your blood cholesterol level is 210 mg/dl: greater than 50 percent
  • User of more than half of all water used for all purposes in the U.S.: livestock production
  • Amount of water used in production of the average cow: sufficient to float a destroyer
  • Gallons of water needed to produce a pound of wheat: 25
  • Gallons of water needed to produce a pound of California beef: 5,000
  • Years the world's known oil reserves would last if every human ate a meat-centered diet: 13
  • Years they would last if human beings no longer ate meat: 260
  • Calories of fossil fuel expended to get 1 calorie of protein from beef: 78
  • To get 1 calorie of protein from soybeans: 2
  • Percentage of all raw materials (base products of farming, forestry and mining, including fossil fuels) consumed by U.S. that is devoted to the production of livestock: 33
  • Percentage of all raw materials consumed by the U.S. needed to produce a complete vegetarian diet: 2
  • Percentage of U.S. antibiotics fed to livestock: 70
  • Percentage of staphylococci infections resistant to penicillin in 1960: 13
  • Percentage resistant in 1988: 91
  • Response of European Economic Community to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock: ban
  • Response of U.S. meat and pharmaceutical industries to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock: full and complete support
  • Common belief: U.S. Department of Agriculture protects our health through meat inspection
  • Reality: fewer than 1 out of every 250,000 slaughtered animals is tested for toxic chemical residues
  • Percentage of U.S. mother's milk containing significant levels of DDT: 99
  • Percentage of U.S. vegetarian mother's milk containing significant levels of DDT: 8
  • Contamination of breast milk, due to chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides in animal products, found in meat-eating mothers vs. non-meat eating mothers: 35 times higher
  • Amount of Dieldrin ingested by the average breast-fed American infant: 9 times the permissible level
  • Number of animals killed for meat per hour in the U.S.: 660,000
  • Occupation with highest turnover rate in U.S.: slaughterhouse worker
  • Occupation with highest rate of on-the-job-injury in U.S.: slaughterhouse worker
  • Athlete to win Ironman Triathlon more than twice: Dave Scott (6 time winner)
  • Food choice of Dave Scott: Vegetarian

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