white meat black mark

White Meat Black Mark

White meat – from chicken, ducks, turkey and geese – has become the meat of choice for many people living in the West. The average person will eat at least 1,226 birds in a lifetime.

Of all types of meat, chicken is especially popular. It accounts for one third of all meat consumed in the UK. Recent food scares including bird flu knocked sales a bit, but the birds’ ‘healthy’ image remains largely untarnished.

“I don't eat a lot of meat...”

In reality, even small amounts of white meat can be detrimental to health. Just one serving of meat per week could significantly increase your risk of diabetes. It's enough to raise your cholesterol levels, too. Those who eat white meat infrequently – less than once a week – may face a higher risk of bowel cancer than non meat-eaters.

Cancer

Cancer-promoting compounds are produced every time that meat is cooked to a high enough temperature to kill off food poisoning bacteria. Even low doses of these compounds have been shown to mutate human DNA, which could lead to cancer.

Environmental damage

Eating just small amounts of meat also has a huge impact on the environment. It is a shocking fact that people who eat meat produce 988 kilograms (roughly one tonne) more global warming gases each year! Just by skipping one meal of chicken per week and substituting vegetarian foods, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off U.S. roads.

Research links white meat consumption to an increased risk of many serious health problems and diseases. For more information on the health consequences of eating white meat, read the VVF's scientific report, White Meat Black Mark.

 

White Meat Myths

White meat is perceived to be...

low-fat
something to be eaten in quantity by top athletes
essential for building muscle
essential for children’s growth
a ‘superfood’

Not so. Modern farming’s focus on high-energy feed, little exercise and breeding for rapid weight gain means that even organic meat is not even close to being low-fat – even after removing the skin and scraping away the subcutaneous fat. A medium-sized chicken contains almost a pint of fat! And contrary to popular opinion, animal protein is not essential for building muscle or for children’s growth.

As for being a 'superfood', white meat contains no fibre, complex carbohydrates, nor vitamin C. When it takes the place of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and pulses in the diet, the result is less vitamins, fibre, and unwanted dietary fat and cholesterol.

There are however a number of tasty, healthy – and environmentally friendly – meat-free alternatives. For more nutritional information and recipes, read the VVF's guide, White Meat Myths.

 

Resources

White Meat Black Mark
White Meat Myths

 

 
 

Petition

Sign the VVF's online petition for more meat-free meals in schools
Media

"Just by skipping one meal of chicken per week and substituting vegetarian foods, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off U.S. roads"

 

White Meat Myths

Find out more - read our full guide to White Meat Myths

read the VVF's detailed 70 page scientific report, White Meat Black Mark.

[Download report - PDF]

[Download guide - PDF]