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Red Meat Is Nature’s Multi-Vitamin, Says Study

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A new study highlights the crucial role of red meat in plugging the nutrition gap.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “overfed but undernourished?” This aptly describes the two-thirds of Americans who are considered overweight or obese. As a society, we are eating plenty, but are we getting the nutrients we need to thrive? And, if not, how does this impact our daily performance, longevity and future generations?

Amidst a sea of Meatless Mondays campaigns and anti-beef sentiments, a new study in the United Kingdom (UK) highlights the crucial role of red meat in the diet.

The study, which is entitled, “The Seven Ages Of Man – Is There A Role For Meat In The Diet?” is set to be published in the British Nutrition Foundation’s Nutrition Bulletin.

Here’s an excerpt from a report on the study:

“Millions of people are putting their health at risk because of inadequate intakes of vital vitamins and minerals, a new study has revealed. But the research also highlights just how important the role of red meat is in the diet in helping to cover this nutrition gap. Meat has been a staple part of the human diet since the dawn of mankind, but in recent years there has been some debate over whether too much red meat can raise the risk of health problems. Now a team of researchers has studied the issue of meat in the diet to help gauge just how important it is for a healthy mind and body – as well as the crucial nutrients that red meat in the diet brings.

“The latest study found that data from dietary surveys indicates that diets for people of all ages can be worryingly low in nutrients normally found in meat, such as vitamin A, vitamin D, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and potassium. The researchers say that integrating red meat into diets across the age spectrum, from infanthood to old age, may help to narrow the present gap between vitamin and mineral intakes and recommended levels. In addition, there is emerging evidence that nutrients commonly found in red meat may play a role in supporting cognitive function, immune health and addressing iron deficiency.”

So, what is red meat’s role in the diet? Here is what the study finds:

“Red meat – defined as beef, veal, pork and lamb, which is fresh, minced or frozen – is a source of high-quality protein and important micronutrients. Beef and lamb are classed as a ‘rich source’ – more than 30% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) - of vitamin B3 (niacin), B12 (cyanocobalamin) and zinc. It is also a ‘source’ – 15% or more of the RDA - of iron, potassium and phosphorous. Pork is also a ‘rich source’ of vitamin B1 (thiamin). Meat, particularly from grass-fed animals, can be a valuable source of long chain (LC) n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) such as omega 3 fatty acids. Research shows that these fatty acids support normal fetal development as well as help lower the risk of inflammatory conditions, depression and dementia in later life. Red meat is also an important source of heme iron - a type that is readily absorbed - and data shows that average iron intakes in the UK are inadequate, especially among females in general and during pregnancy.”

I encourage you to read through the study’s findings, which rebut pronouncements that beef has an adverse effect on health. Additionally, it breaks down the deficiencies most commonly found in babies, young people and the elderly, and how red meat can help bridge the nutritional gap.

This is a fantastic study to read and share. Check it out and post it on your favorite social media sites. The good news is you can enjoy your steak or burger, knowing that it’s not just good, but it’s nature’s multi-vitamin, too.

What do you think about this study? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

By the way, response to our “Winter On The Ranch” photo contest has been huge! With close to 200 entries, we will be working hard to sort through them all and select our finalists, which will be announced on Monday.

In the meantime, check out the complete gallery here. Feel free to “lobby” for your favorites and leave a comment in the photo gallery for images you think should make our finalist list! Remember, $200 in VISA gift cards are up for grabs. Good luck!

Discuss this Blog Entry 8

Bobby (not verified)
on Feb 28, 2013

Great article

greg (not verified)
on Feb 28, 2013

Every great athelete will confirm this study.

Keith Evans (not verified)
on Feb 28, 2013

Information on the exceptional nutritional value of red meat has been around a long time. Australia has done outstanding research on the subject. In 1997 I interviewed a meat scientist at a convention in Sydney and did a story for the Angus Journal. Recently research at Texas A&M indicated that fat from fed beef had a positive effect on blood cholesterol. Now comes this information from Great Briton. The evidence is overwhelming.

The question is, what is being done with the checkoff dollars to inform physicians, dietitians and the general public of these facts?

Keith Evans

on Feb 28, 2013

I concur, it is unbelievable the number of physicians that are uninformed about nutrition. Is there not a requirement for being a doctor that you have some nutritional education. The dietitians that really know their nutritional science seem to get swept under the rug.

W.E. (not verified)
on Feb 28, 2013

Doctors can get their diplomas without receiving much instruction on human nutrition. (But then, so can Ag majors, whose job is to produce human food.) Quoted from “Teaching Doctors About Nutrition and Diet” By PAULINE W. CHEN, M.D.:
"In the mid-1980s, the National Academy of Sciences published a landmark report highlighting the lack of adequate nutrition education in medical schools; the writers recommended a minimum of 25 hours of nutrition instruction. Now, in a study published this month, it appears that even two and a half decades later a vast majority of medical schools still fail to meet the minimum recommended 25 hours of instruction.
"Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill asked nutrition educators from more than 100 medical schools to describe the nutrition instruction offered to their students. While the researchers learned that almost all schools require exposure to nutrition, only about a quarter offered the recommended 25 hours of instruction, a decrease from six years earlier, when almost 40 percent of schools met the minimum recommendations. In addition, four schools offered nutrition optionally, and one school offered nothing at all. And while a majority of medical schools tended to intersperse lectures on nutrition in standard, required courses, like biochemistry or physiology, only a quarter of the schools managed to have a single course dedicated to the topic [of nutrition]." Published: September 16, 2010 in the New York Times.
We are what we eat, and what our cattle and livestock eat. These days, that makes most of us grainfed.

W.E. (not verified)
on Feb 28, 2013

See the website at www.eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm
and look up beef. It changed the way we--and a lot of our beef customers over the past ten years--look at beef.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Mar 1, 2013

W.E.- good job on being narrow minded, I didn't see your website discuss anything else revalent like the needed extra inputs to produce all that grass-fed/pasture meat compared to feedlot raised meat and thats just the tip of the iceberg. You also failed to mention or even consider all the studies that are feeding flax and such to dramastically improve omega 3's in feedlot raised meat. Grass fed is only the answer to feed the world, its a niche market please don't play it off as something thats gonna change the world. We started grainfeeding because we got tried of eating grass flavored shoe leather aka grass fed beef.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Mar 11, 2013

You obviously dont know how to cook.

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BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”

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Amanda Radke

A fifth-generation rancher from Mitchell, SD, Amanda grew up on a purebred Limousin cattle operation in which she and husband Tyler are active. She graduated with a degree in agriculture journalism...

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