Chinese Dietary Guidelines – Cut Meat Consumption by 50%

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New Chinese dietary guidelines where just released, recommending citizens to cut their meat consumption in half. The Chinese government hopes to achieve a dramatic reduction in carbon dioxide emissions as well as obesity and diabetes rates by doing this.

The Guardian: China’s plan to cut meat consumption by 50% cheered by climate campaigners

This is problematic for two reasons. First, meat does not cause diabetes or obesity. If the Chinese start cutting this out from their diet, they’ll eat something else for compensation. And that will most likely be carbohydrates, which will only exacerbate problems of diabetes and overweight.

As China already has one of the most catastrophic diabetes epidemics in the world, that’s rapidly getting worse, it’s unfortunately easy to imagine a total disaster coming up.

Global warming and animals

Second, meat consumption is not necessarily bad for the environment long term. Industrial meat production may very well be, but grass-fed, organic cattle graze on large green areas and help preserve these instead of turning them into soy, corn or wheat monocultures that reduce biodiversity. Grazing animals can also result in net storage of carbon in the ground, potentially reducing global warming.

Perhaps even more important, methane from livestock – a potent greenhouse gas – is not very long-lived in the atmosphere. Within a decade most of it has been converted to carbon dioxide that can be reabsorbed by plants that can be eaten by the animals again. It’s all part of a natural cycle.

Compare this to burning lots of fossil fuels that were stored millions of years ago. This carbon will be staying in the atmosphere for the foreseeable future of human civilization. That’s something else entirely.

We need to stop burning fossil fuels to stop global warming. There are technologies coming up to help us do so very soon, solar and battery technologies are improving exponentially and will pretty soon be cheaper than fossil fuels anyway.

But do we have to kill all the animals that graze on grass? No. Not for the environment, and certainly not to prevent obesity or diabetes. The latter idea is mindbogglingly wrong.

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8 comments

  1. Simon
    Ronald McDonald will kill more Chinese than any US army.
  2. Marion
    At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy nut, but isn't it interesting that behind every diet disaster of the last hundred years, there is some vegan anti-meat agenda?

    Dr. Kellogg thought that masturbation was the worst evil one could commit; he often referred to it as "self-abuse". He was a leader of the anti-masturbation movement, and promoted extreme measures to prevent masturbation. In addition, Kellogg thought that diet played a huge role in masturbation and that a bland diet would decrease excitability and prevent masturbation. Thus, Kellogg invented Corn Flakes breakfast cereal in 1878. He hoped that feeding children this plain cereal every morning (instead of eggs, bacon or kippers) would help to combat the urges of "self-abuse".

    Govenor McGovern, who was a big Pritkin follower, and his vegetarian aide ignored the vast weight of the testimony to the Senate panel when constructing the Food Pyramid that would tumble the world into diabetes and obesity.

    The CSPI, an organisation with a vegan/vegetarian agenda, so lobbied against saturated fat that movie theaters changed from popping popcorn in coconut oil to popping them in corn and soy oil, and fast food restaurants changed from frying in healthy beef tallow in frying in carcinogenic soy bean oil.

    And of course, they are behind the whole 'cows are responsible for climate change' (tell that to the millions of buffalo that used to roam free)

    There is nothing more frightful than politically active vegans; they will destroy humanity WHILST BELIEVING FIRMLY THAT THEY ARE SAVING HUMANITY.

    Fear them.

    Reply: #3
  3. Marion,
    Yes that does sound a bit crazy, except there may be some truth to it.

    Perhaps the lesson is the danger of extending your reasonable biases in one area (like "killing and eating the meat of animals is morally wrong") into unrelated fields, such as healthy eating or environmental issues.

    I'm sure we're all guilty of that sin, in one form or another.

  4. Pierre
    "We need to stop burning fossil fuels to stop global warming."

    So how to explain this ?

    http://www.stevegoreham.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Dansgaard-Temp...

    Did caveman's fire cause a warm up 7000 years ago?

  5. Mike
    Good points, Andreas.

    "… methane from livestock – a potent greenhouse gas – is not very long-lived in the atmosphere."

    Yes, furthermore, as Sally Fallon recently commented, cellulose fermentation can and must occur whether it occurs inside a cow or outside it:

    "Cattle burp and flatulate frequently, and when they do, they expel methane gas, the product of cellulose fermentation (whether it occurs inside the cow or on the ground or in wetlands). The process occurs—and has been occurring for thousands of years—whether or not cows populate the earth …"

    http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/caustic-commentary/caustic-...

    Kill all the cows worldwide to please the vegans and cellulose would still have to ferment. And is it suggested that we should also drain all the world's wetlands, since these are potent producers of methane (c.f. the will o' the wisp) or what? Cows have nothing to do with the question.

    As for the Chinese Government who knows what they're up to? It's not a democracy and they don't necessarily operate in the interests of the people they rule. Heck, we know governments lie to their citizens in the West, although they're not supposed to, these being supposedly constitutional political systems. The Chinese Government may believe all this nonsense, or they may have reasons of their own for these guidelines that they're not disclosing. Perhaps, for example, they might want to export the meat that would have been eaten at home to get currency for some other purpose. (What was that pre-WWII phrase used by Goebbels? "Guns not butter," I think it was.) Who can know precisely what's going on and what the motivations are when dealing with a closed totalitarian system?

  6. Marcy
    I wish this country would phase out feedlot factory farmed beef and go to all grazed grass fed meats. But I can't see that happening in the U.S. where cheap meat is king, and that is depressing.
    Reply: #7
  7. bill
    Grass fed beef would be cheaper without
    the subsidies to the grain industry.
  8. Keryn
    Marion I love you, you said everything perfectly! I'm in the midst of finishing my degree in holistic nutrition, bring back the fat I say, eat real food ( yes I do mean red meat as well, grass fed). Teach our children what real food is in schools and make then healthy again.

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