Which is healthier – a chicken sandwich or a burger? Why was Dr. Oz summoned by Congress recently? Is saturated fat from animal proteins good or bad for kids? Can beef play a role in a heart-healthy diet? What the heck was PETA doing at a Ribfest? Here are five headlines answering these questions.
As a cow-calf producer, it’s a long way up the beef production chain to grocery stores and restaurants, but if we don’t know what is being said about our industry on the tail-end of the chain, how can we do a good job at the beginning of the chain? To better meet consumer demands and to keep an eye on retail trends, I’ve rounded up five headlines about beef and nutrition -- both positive and negative -- to keep us on our toes in striving to produce beef products that our consumers will continue to love.
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1. “The Truth About Common Nutrition Myths” by Sharon Liao for Fitness Magazine
This article debunks the myth that a grilled chicken sandwich is better than a burger, which means we can enjoy that burger guilt-free. Here’s an excerpt: “This seemingly healthy favorite (grilled chicken sandwich) not only contains more calories -- roughly 350 versus 250 -- than a plain hamburger, but it can also be a sodium bomb. Worried about a burger's toll on your heart? Don't be. A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate about 5 oz. of lean beef daily as part of a healthy diet lowered their cholesterol level by the same amount as those who ate less beef.”
2. "Senators to Dr. Oz: Stop Promising Weight-Loss Miracles," by James Hamblin for The Atlantic
If you’ve ever seen the Dr. Oz Show, then you know he’s all about offering his audience ideas to lose weight. The problem is, today’s show might contradict the advice offered on yesterday’s show, and not everything can be a “magic weight loss cure.” But that’s exactly the type of language Oz uses in promoting some of his diet schemes on his program. Some days, Oz loves beef, and other days, it’s full of bad things we need to avoid. Now, Congress is taking him to task on some of his pronouncements. I can’t say that I’m disappointed he is getting his hands slapped for some of his outlandish statements.
In a committee meeting where Oz was summoned, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) asked Oz about his practices on the show.
“I don't know why you need to say this stuff, because you know it's not true. Why—when you have this amazing megaphone and this amazing ability to communicate—would you cheapen your show by saying things like that?” she asked.
3. "Is It Ok For Kids To OD On Saturated Fat?" by Elisa Zied for Parents.com
This post isn’t exactly favorable to the meat industry, but I thought it was worth sharing anyway. Elisa Zied responds to the new book, “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong In A Healthy Diet,” which encourages folks to incorporate animal fats and proteins back into their meals after years of low-fat eating.
Zied writes, “Even though foods that naturally contain saturated fatty acids like meat and dairy foods (milk, cheese and yogurt) contribute key nutrients, it’s wise to teach children to choose such foods and others high in saturated fatty acids (including grain-based desserts like cookies and cupcakes, and dairy-based desserts like ice cream) in lower fat forms while eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. This can help minimize saturated fatty acid intake while maximizing overall nutrient intake. More importantly, it can also help children keep their total calorie intake at a level that meets (but doesn’t exceed) their needs. Because many foods that are rich in saturated fatty acids also tend to be high in calories (not to mention taste so good), they’re also relatively easy to over consume.”
I disagree with Zied lumping meat, milk, cheese and yogurt in the same category as cookies and cupcakes. Not all calories are created equal, and the calories in a nutrient-dense food like milk, which keep you full and satiated, do not equal the calories in sugar-laden foods like cookies, which cause folks to overeat and then have a blood sugar crash shortly after. Read her full piece on Parents.com and see if you agree with her logic warning parents that animal fats and proteins should be limited.
4. "Beef In A Heart-Healthy Diet?" featured on empr.com
It’s great to see more articles stating that beef has a place in a healthy diet. Here is an example of how beef can fit into one popular eating style, the DASH diet.
“The DASH diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and increased protein mainly from plant sources, has been shown to reduce hypertension. Can lean beef be added to the DASH diet, with the same blood pressure (BP) benefits? Yes, says a new study in the Journal of Human Hypertension. Thirty-six individuals with BP <140/90mmHg were assigned to one of the following diets: traditional DASH diet, a DASH-like diet containing lean beef (at 113g/day), a DASH-like diet containing lean beef (at 153g/day), or a healthy American diet. No significant effects were seen on diastolic blood pressure or endothelial function with any of the diets, but rates of decreasing systolic blood pressure (SBP) were higher in those on the diet containing 153g/day of lean beef vs. those eating a healthy American diet. No changes in SPB were observed among those eating the DASH diet and DASH plus lean beef at 113g/day.”
5. "PETA Protest At Ottawa Ribfest" featured on Canada’s Sun News Network
Half-naked PETA protesters showed up at a Ribfest in Ottawa recently to encourage attendees to go meat-free. As consumers ate pulled pork sandwiches and ribs, these activists held posters and posed in the nude with the cuts of meat painted on their bodies to encourage a vegetarian lifestyle. In this interview, the journalist gives PETA way too much air time, but he also attempts to take the PETA spokesperson to task on her skewed reality of how animals are really treated on farms and ranches. Check out the link above to hear the entire interview and perhaps get a chuckle out of the PETA’s rep’s poor logic.
What do you think about the latest beef headlines? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of Beefmagazine.com or the Penton Farm Progress Group.
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