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What Happens in My Body When I Stop Meat?

Choosing to stop eating meat can be motivated by concern for animal welfare, a desire to lose weight or to preserve one's health. But what is it really? If stopping meat brings many health benefits, it can also have negative consequences in the absence of food rebalancing.

I decrease my iron intake
Red meat is rich in iron , an important trace element for the proper functioning of our body but which can increase the cardiovascular risk when it is present in excess. It promotes oxidative stress which damages the wall of the arteries. If you are a big red meat eater, removing it from your diet will decrease your iron intake and preserve your arteries.

Please note that iron should not be removed from the diet as it is essential for hemoglobin and myoglobin for the transport of oxygen in cells, but also for the immune system and muscles. If you stop the meat, the iron supply must imperatively be found elsewhere. We must turn to pulses. " As the quality of iron in pulses is not the same as in red meat, the latter should preferably be eaten with foods rich in vitamin C so that iron is well assimilated by the body. All fresh vegetables contain vitamin C " , warns Maxime, dietitian nutritionist

My body produces less bile acids
To digest the fats in red meat, the liver produces bile acids. When you eat too much red meat, these acids are produced in excess and can irritate the colon, increasing the risk of colorectal cancer . By stopping the meat, we protect ourselves against this risk.

I limit inflammatory reactions throughout the body
Meat fats contain arachidonic acid which promotes inflammation in the body. A diet devoid of meat decreases the risk of inflammatory reactions throughout the body.

I increase my intake of fiber and good fats
When we stop meat, we have to find other sources of protein: fish, dairy products, eggs, legumes, oilseeds, fruit and vegetables rich in protein ... Besides their protein content, these foods provide us with fiber and good acids fatty: polyunsaturated fatty acids ( omega 3 and 6) and monounsaturated fatty acids (omega 9).

I lose weight
Removing meat from your diet can make you lose weight if you adopt good eating habits. " If you eat too much sugar, starchy foods and industrial products next door, stopping the meat will have no effect on the balance, " said the dietitian. On the other hand, replacing meat with vegetable proteins and fish promotes weight loss.

I lower bad cholesterol
Bad cholesterol (LDL) is favored by excessive consumption of high-fat meat and cold meats. Removing them from your diet can lower it. " Again, provided you eat well by promoting fruits and vegetables, legumes, omega 3; and do not rush on other fatty foods, " insists Maxime Mességué.

Beware of deficiencies!
As we have seen, removing meat from our diet requires some adjustments to achieve a balance: compensate for the loss of proteins from meat with vegetable proteins, fish, eggs, dairy products ... If this balance is not reached, the absence of meat can cause deficiencies dangerous for health:

Iron deficiency. It results in anemia resulting in fatigue and weakening of the natural defenses. Besides red meat, it is found in soybeans, lentils, white beans, oysters, fatty fish, almonds. (see our selection of foods richest in iron );
Deficiency of vitamin B12 . This vitamin is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system, the transport of oxygen to cells and the proper expression of genes. It is only found in animal products. Hence the need to maintain fish, dairy products and eggs in its diet to benefit from it;
Protein deficiency . They are necessary for the proper functioning of the muscles and to balance the blood sugar level (blood sugar ). A meatless diet is not a problem as the meat proteins are replaced by other protein rich foods.

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