With all this jabber about the usage of “pink slime” in our meat supply and recent studies (arguably not very new) that point to the destructiveness of consuming red meat, it’s only fitting someone would come along and create a thoroughly simple infographic entitled “Eat Meat & Die.”
That is what infographics are good at. Take a hot button issue, aggregate a few sources, make it clean, catchy, buzzworthy and give publishers and social media soldiers a few key themes to latch onto. It makes people feel informed, which isn’t the worst thing in the world. In fact, these graphics are usually a pretty good segue into active conversation — ideally, a segue into active research.
As part of a perpetually infographic-consuming web audience, we should be wary of the type of visuals we get bombarded with on a daily basis. I’m definitely not one to talk, when I see a colorful graphic that seems to aggregate and subsequently analyze information for me, I immediately consider myself an expert on whatever topic the infographic was covering.
Cupcake infographic? Yes, I am now the only person in my friend group that knows that Cupcakes are served at 13% of Weddings. Beer isn’t bad, I read in a beer infographic that Egyptian children were baptized with beer. Coffee and tea are good for you? Yes, this infographic said so!
So what does all this cynicism have to do with this Eat Meat & Die infographic? The graphic claims that substituting a daily serving of red meat with Chicken or Whole Grains will reduce risk of early death by 14%. If you substitute a daily serving of red meat with a serving of nuts reduces the risk of early death by 19%. Cool jazz, eat more greens, less bacon, am I right?
The graphic does a splendid job summarizing web links that coin vegetables/nuts/white meat as healthy alternatives to red meat. Consumers of red meat probably won’t argue against this research, but they should play devil’s advocate with the entire section highlighting the main causes of death in the U.S., Latin America and Australia. According to the chart, the leading cause of death in these three countries is heart disease.
Eat Meat & Die? I’m no dietician, but heart disease is a complicated issue. The graphic makes no note of all the people who suffer from heart disease who have supplemented their diets with other vices, such as smoking, drinking, lack of exercise, cocaine binges, and the amount of additional stress that faces us every morning on our commute to work.
In essence, if you never consume an ounce of meat in your life, you are still susceptible to death. So with this in mind, yes, if you eat meat, you will die. You will also die if you eat a locally-sourced grain of rice. Trust me, whether it’s tomorrow, or in 2097, you will die one day.
Facetiousness aside, infographics are meant to be buzzworthy and high-concept, and proper awareness of health trends and proper eating habits are always important.
You be the judge, does this infographic do anything for you?