Diet & Weight Loss
Whether you’re looking to save animals or protect the environment or tweak your eating lifestyle, here’s how you can expect your body to change when you boot red meat from the menu.
You may lose a few pounds
Red meat is calorie-dense, so cutting it out of your daily diet could mean a lower number on the scale. “Most portions of meat are more than the actual protein requirement, and these larger portions can be replaced by alternative protein sources that are much lighter in calories, still satisfying, and also easier to digest,” says Sally Warren, PhD, traditional naturopath at Metro Integrative Pharmacy. “A three-ounce serving of beef can be around 170 calories, but a portion of beans can be around 100 calories and tofu around 70 calories, each supplying the same amount of protein.” It may not seem like a huge difference at first, but it can add up over time. Fish, chicken, and legumes are lighter calorie alternatives, and good replacements to choose. A 2015 review article in the Journal of General Internal Medicine reported that people on a vegetarian diet lost more weight than those on a non-vegetarian diet, although vegans shed more weight than people who still ate eggs and dairy products. Here are 13 more body changes you experience while eating a vegan diet.
You’ll be less acidic
For our bodies to be healthy, we need a good pH balance, but much of the modern convenience diet today is comprised of acid-forming foods, including red meat. “Red meat together with white flour, coffee, and soda produces a high acidic load for the body to absorb and neutralize,” explains Dr. Warren. “Plus, high acidity in the body creates the perfect environment for disease—add stress and poor sleep to the mix and you’ve lowered your resistance to high-mortality illnesses like cancer and diabetes.” The majority of fast-food meals excludes more alkaline foods such as vegetables and fruits, which can balance out the acid-forming foods.
You may feel less bloated
The body digests red meat more slowly than it does other foods, so some people report constipation, abdominal pain, and increased gas after a jumbo steak dinner or a large pastrami sandwich. While you may experience some indigestion right after you cut out red meat, it’s mainly the result of eating more healthy, fiber-rich foods. In the long-term, you’ll add healthy bacteria in your gut, which could lower body-wide inflammation and make you feel less bloated to boot. In fact, a 2014 study published in the journal Nutrition, found that vegetarians had lower rates of inflammation than meat eaters. Healthy protein substitutes that are easier for the body to digest include chicken, fish, and vegetarian meals, according to Dr. Warren. Make sure you know the foods that used to be bad for you but aren’t anymore.