Dunking your hand into a bowl of still-sticky eyeballs, devouring crunchy witches’ fingers, and quaffing goblets of blood are de rigueur this time of year—even for vegans. From freshly dug graves crawling with worms to vats of unholy brew, menus around Halloween take a turn for the macabre. But what if we told you that something truly terrifying lurks on dinner tables all year ‘round? Even more spine-tingling than all of RL Stine’s work combined are the consequences of corpse-eating. Consuming the bodies of dead animals (and their loathsome by-products) is a real threat to human health. Americans are significantly more likely to die of heart disease or other diet-related (and preventable) causes than we are of zombie attacks, werewolves, or banshees. Give yourself a good fright with the following five harrowing ways that eating animal products can kill you.
1. Meat destroys your brain. In a study conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital (an affiliate of Harvard Medical School), women aged 65 and older who consumed the most beef and butter showed impaired cognitive function and higher levels of memory loss than those who consumed plant-based fats (from sources such as nuts and avocados). Additionally, high consumption of animal products has been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. In April, a cow infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (aka Mad Cow disease) was discovered in a California slaughterhouse. The disease, known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, deteriorates neural pathways and neural function, leading to dementia and eventual death.
2. Insects inside are ill-advised. Yes, it is possible to OD on roaches. Let the death of Edward Archbold, the Florida man who recently died after winning an insect-eating contest, serve as warning. Though the cockroaches themselves might not have transmitted disease to Archbold directly, according to CNN, the bacteria living in the bugs’ guts could have included salmonella, along with other organisms potentially dangerous to humans. Though bug-eating contests aren’t as common as chicken tacos, we’ll pass on the pupae, just to be on the safe side.
3. Superbugs are swarming. On the majority of factory farms, animals are crammed together in unnatural living conditions, which makes them susceptible to disease. As a result, they are given massive quantities of antibiotics—whether or not they show signs of illness. In the US, fully 80 percent of all antibiotics manufactured are given to farm animals. One of the many problems with this practice is that the antibiotics have spawned mutations in the bacteria they’re meant to destroy, resulting in antibiotic-resistant superbugs. These pathogens include variants of Staphylococcus aureus and e. coli.
4. Too much meat can stop your heart. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in every four deaths in the United States is related to heart disease, and 935,000 people per year suffer heart attacks. Reducing meat consumption can reduce the risk for heart disease by nearly 30 percent, and eating a plant-based diet is a better indication of heart health than genetics.
5. Tastes like tumors! Bladder, colon, rectal, and esophageal are among the cancers that have been linked to consumption of meat, especially red and processed meats. If the idea of mutant cells multiplying inside your body doesn’t interest you, stick to flesh-free foods. On the plus side, compounds in crucifers (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and bok choy, among others) have been shown to have anti-mutagenic properties, which help protect against cancer.
If these tortured tales of carnage have turned your thoughts to a midnight dreary, make like a raven and chew on corpses nevermore!
Love the adorable skull plate pictured above? Check it, and other skeleton-inspired flatware, out at FoldedPigs on Etsy.
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