You may not be Superman, but you can do your part to save the planet—and your life—by simply passing up a burger here and there. (No tights or cape required.)
In a new study published in BMJ Open, British researchers found that cutting back on processed and red meat could:
- Decrease the U.K.’s carbon footprint by 31 million tons per year.
- Reduce cases of chronic illness in the U.K. by up to 12 percent.
Those are staggering numbers. And while this study focused solely on U.K. data and applied it to the U.K. population, it's just one of many that have shown the health benefits—and environmental impact—of eating less red meat.
Prior research has linked it to killer diseases (like heart disease and bowel cancer), and other reports have estimated that livestock account for the emission of 18 percent of ozone-damazing greenhouse gases globally.
How much red meat, then, would you need to pass up in order to make a difference?
The U.K. study found that top male meat-eaters would only have to cut back their daily intake by half—from 3.6 ounces to 1.8 ounces. Translated into everyman terms, that means having a modest-sized burger (the type you'd make at home—not one of those monster-patties you get at a chain restaurant) every other day instead of daily.
So try it. Your body—and future generations—will thank you.