My View From The Country

We Can’t Forget The Nutrition Side Of Beef

Just because beef has a great nutritional story to tell – one that is resonating with influencers – doesn’t mean the industry can let up on this cause.

My brother is a doctor and one of the smartest people I know. He’s truly earned the respect that people afford him when it comes to health issues. That said, however, doctors have a tremendous amount to learn, and they don’t get a whole lot of training on the nutritional front; most are taught that the link between diet and health is incontrovertible and well-established.

I don’t blame them for repeating many things that are believed to be fact but actually are very questionable from a scientific standpoint. It’s what they are taught. In fact, I’ve had the chance recently to talk to cancer doctors who have told us to avoid meat and processed foods of any kind.

In addition, this week, I heard a nutritionist interviewed on the yellow tuna salmonella outbreak. This nutritionist stated that we’re seeing record numbers of such outbreaks because of large-scale production and greedy corporations that try to minimize product waste. It was a political statement that is actually repudiated by the facts, but the interviewer just agreed and asked how one can buy food that’s safe if modern agriculture is incapable of producing it or too greedy to provide it. Lean finely textured beef, commonly referred to in the media as “pink slime,” was invoked to further condemn today’s production practices. 

Agriculture is seen by some activists as a threat to the environment and an abomination to animals’ welfare and dignity, while supposedly producing an unhealthy product. I drink way too much soda pop, and I love it, but I’m amazed that when these folks talk about obesity, etc., soda pop isn’t regarded in the same light as meat products.

I don’t know if people believe mass-produced soda pop is inherently safer, more consistent, and less expensive as a result. But I hear of few people out advocating for the return of the soda jerk era, nor do they point to cola consumption as the downfall of our society.

We’ve made lots of progress in getting an accurate message out on beef’s nutrition, and scientists and nutritionists are advocating more balanced approaches than in the past. However, the multi-pronged attack on our industry is still being waged. The fact that there’s a lot of good science available doesn’t matter to the people who seek to eliminate animal production. Nutrition and food, just like public policy, are still seen as two of the primary ways to accomplish this. If anything can be used to negate demand, it serves its purpose.

Discuss this Blog Entry 1

Jordan Schlake (not verified)
on Apr 20, 2012

Thank you for this article. A lot of the studies out there decrying red meat and saturated fat tend to be junk science observational studies. Increased consumption of sugar and processed grains are the real cause of the nation's obesity and diabetes epidemics, not red meat. If you're looking for groups out there that not only condemn soda pop and all other forms of sugar while also singing the praises of red meat's nutritional value check out the Paleo community. The documentary "Fat Head" is a great place to start. The film is entertaining and very educational, shedding light on how modern nutrition ideas and standards are based on bad science, personal agendas, and dirty politics. These two videos provide a good intro into the main ideas of the film:

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What's My View From The Country?

As a fulltime rancher, opinion contributor Troy Marshall brings a unique perspective on how consumer and political trends affect livestock production.


Troy Marshall

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock...

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