Two new scientific reviews examine meat's role in a healthy diet
The Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education released two new expert authored scientific reviews about the role of products like bacon, deli meats, sausage and cured meat in a healthy diet and how these products are formulated and produced.
Should We All be Eating Less Meat?: Exploring the Science and Controversies Surrounding Meat and Understanding Processed Meat are authored by award winning nutrition expert Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RDN.
“Health professionals are bombarded with information about meat and poultry from a variety of sources, and these papers provide a strong scientific summary of meat’s role in the diet,” said Janet Riley, Foundation Senior Vice President of Public Affairs. “We hope they will be a valuable resource for those tasked with addressing consumer questions about meat and poultry.”
Should We All be Eating Less Meat? looks at current dietary patterns as outlined by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans which found that most Americans are not overeating protein foods from meat, poultry and eggs. It evaluates the health benefits of meat consumption, the evidence related to health concerns tied to meat as well as the potential health risks of eliminating meat from the diet.
It concludes, “lean meats in controlled portions consumed within limits for sodium, saturated fats and total calories can be a part of a healthy eating pattern. Overall healthy dietary patterns including a wide variety of foods in the context of a healthy lifestyle are more important to good health and the best dietary advice.”
Understanding Processed Meat evaluates common meat processing methods, the ingredients used, the role of nitrate and nitrite in meat curing and the evidence linking processed meat to cancer.
“Clearly, a diet containing excessive processed meats is not healthy nor is it recommended - just as any imbalanced diet is not recommended. Nevertheless, processed meat can fit into a healthy dietary pattern when consumed in moderation,” Zelman writes. Zelman’s paper notes that Americans, on average, are consuming these products at recommended levels.
Both papers were provided to dietitians at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) in Chicago this Fall. They are available at meatpoultryfoundation.org and www.meatpoultrynutrition.org.