Eating too much meat could be as bad for you as a diet rich in sugar, scientists have warned.
Fresh evidence claims eating too much meat can be just as destructive as too much sugar, which means it could be time to step away from the grill.
A team of scientists from the University of Adelaide came to their conclusion after comparing obesity and meat consumption rates in 170 countries. After taking into account different influences between countries, such as the degree of urbanisation, physical activity and calorie consumption, it was discovered that meat contributed around 13 per cent to obesity levels, the same as sugar.
And it’s not the fat content of meat that is leading to the problem as previously thought, but a protein found in animal products. Because the protein is digested after fats and carbohydrates, it can be stored in the body as fat.
Led by PhD student Wenpeng You, the findings have once again highlighted that meat can be reason for weight gain.
“There is a dogma that fats and carbohydrates, especially fats, are the major factors contributing to obesity,” he said.
“Whether we like it or not, fats and carbohydrates in modern diets are supplying enough energy to meet our daily needs.
“Because meat protein is digested later than fats and carbohydrates, this makes the energy we receive from protein a surplus. (This) is then converted and stored as fat in the human body.”
Accordingly, the University of Adelaide’s Professor Maciej Henneberg has called for food packaging to reflect the dangers of eating too much meat, in the same way sugar content is highlighted.
The results were first published in BMC Nutrition.