What does the plan of the German Society for Nutrition DGE look like in detail?
The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) is planning to update its nutritional recommendations – and the current draft is intended to recommend that citizens clearly avoid meat. Specifically, 10g/day/head are under discussion, that would be 300g/month; i.e. a decent slice of sausage every day or “cumulatively” a large rump steak once a month – and then the remaining 29 days of the month would be meat-free. But you don’t know the “final amount” exactly, since it’s still “insider information” that has been pierced through. However, it is already clear that “health” is no longer the focus of the recommendations – probably because every non-ideological scientist now knows that there is no evidence that meat consumption causes illness. Instead, the DGE is now putting forward environmental factors and climate damage as reasons for reducing consumption in the true sense of the word.
How realistic is it for people to change their eating habits so much?
Very unrealistic. First of all, no one goes to the kebab shop, the snack bar or the Japanese restaurant with a scale and weighs the meat content of their meal. Nothing is weighed in the canteens and restaurants – and certainly not at home. In addition, people are extremely reluctant to be patronized and dictated what they should and shouldn’t eat – this is a highly sensitive area of privacy, where intuitive, evolutionary enjoyment to sustain life is at stake. “Reactance” often takes effect – ie people do exactly what they are warned against “better not to do”: simply because they can. may and want. Furthermore, anyone who is a little familiar with the massive weaknesses and limitations of nutritional science knows that all quantities given for the consumption of food are fictitious averaged desired values that lack any scientific basis.
What are the health effects of drastically reducing meat consumption?
Nobody can tell. Because there is no causal evidence for this, ie there is no evidence showing that meat or sausage would have triggered or caused cancer, heart attack, diabetes or even early death in anyone – and vice versa, a reduction would make us healthier getting fat and getting thinner through doing without is nothing more than a hypothesis without a valid data basis. This is simply because the nutritional sciences are based on an extremely weak basis: There are almost only super-lax correlations, i.e. very banal, waxy statistical connections, but no hard, reliable cause-effect evidence (causality). Our Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, who as a Havard epidemiologist (!) should know better, likes to “forget” this difference between correlation and causality again and again (see here, it’s all about the sausage).
How to ensure a balanced diet when meat consumption is severely reduced?
That’s relatively easy – because in this country nobody really needs meat for a healthy diet (even if it is a nutritionally very high-quality food). All vegetarians who eat dairy products, cheese and eggs are also well supplied with nutrients if they listen to their bodies and eat a variety of foods accordingly – and this applies to pescetarians, i.e. people who eat fish but not meat, anyway. In principle, everyone should listen to their body and eat individually and intuitively, i.e. enjoy what tastes good and what they can tolerate (digest) really well when they are really hungry. Basically, there are as many healthy diets as there are people, because everyone is different. Therefore, the credo is: try it out and find the only right way that suits you personally.
How does reducing meat consumption affect the environment?
Even climatologists, agronomists and experts in organic farming have been arguing about this question for a long time. For example, the above-mentioned groups of experts also doubt that the many areas worldwide that can only be used for pasture land can be used for other purposes for human nutrition. In short: It is still unclear – especially in a global context, if you look beyond the small German horizon. In general, there is a lot going on here with emotions and hypothetical scenarios that make many people feel guilty and afraid of the future. In my opinion, a completely different question than potential and still unclear climate protection is much more important and relevant for the behavior of the individual.
What question is essential when it comes to the topic of “meat consumption”?
Everyone should always shop and eat very self-reflectively. That means thinking and asking yourself “Where does the food come from, how is it produced” and in the case of meat and sausages in particular: “How did the animals live where, what kind of animal husbandry do I want to support?” On the one hand there are regional-ecological ones (Organic) agriculture with species-appropriate husbandry, on the other hand there are still the huge bunker stalls of industrially orchestrated factory farming. It somehow doesn’t fit together anymore. Just because the sausage from the “red husbandry category 1” maybe shows a funny little pig and an idyllic farm on the pack, that has nothing to do with reality. That sausage in there used to be an animal that lived—and often neither long nor comfortably. You should really actively think and reflect: What am I actually buying here and am I really satisfied with the origin, rearing and production? What kind of food production do I want to support with my money? Buy according to your own best knowledge – and conscience.