Future mothers can’t afford to give this up

Red meat is a health food.

There — I said it. And I don’t care what other so-called “experts” might think. Because facts are facts. And you can’t argue with the nutritional value of grass-fed (and grass-finished) beef from cows raised in pastures, as they were meant to be.

It’s a health food even after you take into account the so-called “toll” that livestock takes on the planet. The idea that vegetarianism is more ecologically responsible is tenuous, at best. Because trust me, there are just as many horrific things you could say about our current crop farming practices — like the fact that they use more chemicals, for starters.

(For more on the dangers of current crop farming practices, check out my article titled, “The deadly toxin lurking in every town across America,” featured in the March 2016 issue of Logical Health Alternatives. To access the archives, simply log into DrPescatore.com/subscribers. Not yet a subscriber? Sign up here.)

But you know what? I’m going to save that debate for a different day. Not because it isn’t important—but because there’s another side of this argument which simply doesn’t get enough attention.

I’m talking about the health risks associated with avoiding red meat…

I talked a bit about the mental health risks to male vegetarians a couple of weeks ago. But today, I want to talk about a recently discovered risk to red-meat-restricting women—and more specifically, to their unborn children.

Researchers from the UK have linked low red meat consumption in pregnancy with a higher risk of substance use among those babies once they reach their teens.

This study of more than 5,000 teens found that, when pregnant mothers ate less meat, their kids eventually faced a significantly higher risk of alcohol and tobacco use by age 15. These kids were also more than twice as likely to use marijuana when compared to peers with mothers who ate red meat daily during pregnancy.

Not only that, but red meat appeared to confer protection in a dose-dependent manner. In other words, researchers found that the more meat mothers ate, the likelihood of substance abuse decreased in her future teen. Pretty amazing, right?

This study didn’t find any associations between substance use and other maternal dietary patterns. (Though that’s hardly a green light to gorge on junk food for nine months.) But in the end, maternal vegetarianism showed strong ties to all three forms of substance use among teens:

• Alcohol abuse increased by 28 percent.
• Tobacco use increased by 21 percent
• Marijuana use increased by 42 percent

I know vegetarians believe they’re doing something good for their health. But the reality is quite the opposite: The nutritional deficiencies that can result from a meatless diet pose bona fide risks — especially during pregnancy, when the consequences could directly impact unborn children down the road.

You’d think news like this would get more attention. After all, pregnant women are routinely urged to increase their intake of DHA from fish, precisely to promote healthy neurological development in the womb.

That’s why these investigators initially assumed that fish would be protective against future substance abuse. But they were wrong — it was red meat that made the difference. And its abundance of vitamin B12 (also known as cobalamin) appears to be the reason why.

The jury is still out on this theory, of course. (Meat has a number of specific nutrients, proteins, and amino acids that you just can’t get from vegetables.) But the risks of B12 deficiency are well-known, and it’s vital that any vegan or vegetarian knows their levels. Simply ask your doctor for a quick blood test during your next check-up.

Luckily, it only takes a low-cost vitamin to fix. Because for future mothers in particular, this is one case where the return on investment really couldn’t get much higher.