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Can Men Go Without Meat, Even Though It's Not Macho?

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Can Men Go Without Meat, Even Though It's Not Macho?

A new study finds that we tend to associate meat with masculinity - vegetables less. Is it taboo for men to avoid meat?

Stronger. Meatier. Beefier.

Is there something about eating meat that is manly? Not eating meat that’s not-so-manly? According to a recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, many of us seem to think so.

The study examined the use of metaphor and language associated with meat in western societies. The results: people rated meat more masculine than vegetables; meat generated more masculine words when people discussed it; and, people viewed male eaters as more masculine than men who didn’t eat meat.

"To the strong, traditional, macho, bicep-flexing, All-American male, red meat is a strong, traditional, macho, bicep-flexing, All-American food," the authors write. "Soy is not. To eat it, they would have to give up a food they saw as strong and powerful like themselves for a food they saw as weak and wimpy."

Do men avoid vegetarianism?

Maybe not.

The study might lead us to believe that the majority of meat-conscious eaters out there are female. But according to a telephone survey conducted in 2011 on behalf of the Vegetarian Resource Group, men and women tend to be fairly equal in most categories measuring vegetarian tendencies.

So if you’re a man thinking about having tofu for dinner, know that you’re not alone.

Thinking about cutting down on meat?

Vegetarianism has been shown to reduce the risk of many chronic health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer. A vegetarian diet has also been linked to effective weight loss, and can be a more efficient source of fuel than a meat-based diet.

Read more about the benefits of a meatless diet, and how to plan your meals with Meatless Mondays.

Read more about how nutritional requirements differ between men and women.

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