Red meat consumption has been associated in a Harvard study with an increased risk of total mortality, cardiovascular disease mortality, and cancer mortality. Because food is a package deal, the nutrients in products such as beef cannot be obtained without cholesterol, saturated fat, and hormones (see also here). On average, there are 64 times more antioxidants in plant foods than animal foods (see also here). And the injections of US cattle with anabolic steroids have been found to make their way into the meat and have been tentatively linked with increased hormone dependent cancer levels. The sex steroid hormones in beef may affect the development of pregnant women’s son’s genitals in the womb. Meat intake has also been associated with women’s infertility. Pancreatic cancer has likewise been associated with the intake of animal fat, including beef fat. And acute myeloid leukemia as well as other types of leukemia have been associated meat intake.
In terms of fecal contamination, beef tends to be safer than chicken because the skin of cows is not eaten (see also here, here). Fast food burgers have been found to contain the following: hormones, blood vessels, nerves, cartilage, parasites, ammonia, and only 2.1%-14.8% meat.
Meat appears to actually speed up the aging process by apparently eating away at the telomere caps of our DNA and through the presence of AGEs (thought to likewise speed up the aging process). Vegetarians report less negative emotions than omnivores, possibly due to arachidonic acid in meat. Beef does have certain advantages though, compared to other meats. PCBs are found in highest concentrations in fish & eggs, milk & milk products, and meat & meat products from land based animals, in that order.
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