5 Reasons To Go Meatless

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It's no secret that the American meat-heavy diet could use a serious overhaul. We consume nearly one and a half times more meat than most industrialized nations and use more than 50 percent of our water and land to raise livestock. This heavy reliance on animal protein is taking a toll on our health and contributing to a multitude of environmental concerns, including global warming, air and water pollution.

While a full vegetarian diet may seem a bit too extreme, here are five good reasons to consider going meatless, at least part of the time.

Health professionals have been warning us for some time now that diets high in meat load us down with saturated fat, increasing our risk for heart disease, diabetes and certain forms of cancer. According to Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, giving up meat even one day a week can reduce consumption of harmful fat by 15 percent. Further studies also point to a decreased risk of breast cancer in women who eat meat less frequently because saturated fat stimulates certain types of estrogen-receptive tumors.