Meatless Monday: Should you “go veggie” once a week?

By Shayna Brouker • Published: October 13th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Bacon for breakfast, turkey sandwich for lunch, burgers for dinner … no matter which meal of the day, Americans love meat. Studies show we consume eight grams a day, forty-five percent more than the recommended U-S-D-A amount.

But a growing number of carnivores are eliminating meat from their diets one day a week and supporting the twofold mantra of the Meatless Monday movement: To help reduce meat consumption fifteen percent in order to preserve personal health… and the health of our planet. Proponents point to the fact that decreasing meat intake can lower the risk of heart disease caused by artery-clogging animal fats. And it can slash your grocery bill and even save water used to grow grain for livestock.

Anyone can see that a can of beans costs less than a cut of ribeye, but is there any “meat” to the idea that less is best?

A study published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests cutting back on animal protein could in fact do wonders for your waistline. The study tracked the meat consumption of European men and women. Those who consumed the equivalent of a steak every day gained two kilograms more, or about four pounds, over five years. The types of meat included red meat, poultry and processed meat, like sausage and sliced deli turkey. When it comes to packing on the pounds, the high energy and fat content in these foods are the culprits.

So if you want to lose a few pounds or keep the weight off, consider trimming meat from your diet one day a week… or even more. In the long run, you just might find you really don’t miss it. And ultimately, your waist, wallet and the world could benefit.