Experts in human evolution and comparative anatomy at the University of Adelaide in Australia have found that it's not just eating all that sugar that makes people fat. Their research proves the following contention: Where meat is prevalent, so is obesity.
The researchers looked at data from 170 countries and found that the more available and accessible meat is in a country, the fatter the residents are. Then, they controlled for variations in national gross domestic product, calorie consumption, urbanisation levels, and physical activity—all of which are contributors to obesity. In the end, sugar factored independently as 13 percent of the reason people get fat—and meat contributed another 13 percent.
The bottom line is that the availability of meat correlates with high obesity rates.
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Professor Maciej Henneberg, head of the Biological Anthropology and Comparative Anatomy Research Unit at the University of Adelaide explains: "Our findings are likely to be controversial because they suggest that meat contributes to obesity prevalence worldwide at the same extent as sugar." The results of the study have been published in two journals: BMC Nutrition and the Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences.
Ph.D. student Wenpeng You, who conducted the research, believes there's a reason meat is such a big culprit in weight gain: "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, which is then converted and stored as fat in the human body."
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MUNCHIES reached out to the North American Meat Institute for comment on the issue, but has yet to hear back.
Are you thinking, OK, but correlation is not causation, so shut your stupid mouth and let me eat meat? Although this study does not purport to prove that eating lots of meat causes weight gain directly, in the words of Mr. You: "Nevertheless, it is important that we show the contribution meat protein is making to obesity so that we can better understand what is happening. In the modern world in which we live, in order to curb obesity, it may make sense for dietary guidelines to advise eating less meat, as well as eating less sugar."
Good thing we recently told you about the world's most perfect salad. Looks like we all have yet another reason to be eating more salad and less steak.