NOTE: Headlines have appeared recently claiming once again that red meat, primarily beef, causes cancer. Our own Wyoming Tribune Eagle printed the sensationalized headline “Red Meat Kills” on the front page of the March 17 edition. The Wyoming Stock Growers Association and the Wyoming Beef Council teamed up on a letter to the editor to tell them why they’re wrong.
I was disappointed that you lead the Saturday, March 17 edition with a sensationalized front page tagline that lead readers to a study about red meat which is both misleading and biased. I am particularly disturbed by your focus on this article when in January, a study was released that clearly shows the heart healthy benefits of lean beef, and to my knowledge, your paper did not cover this study at all. Wyoming beef producers deserve a fairer treatment of issues that so directly affect our industry and our state.
The truth your readers deserve to hear is that there is no scientifically valid reason to eliminate red meat from the diet. The one thing scientists agree on, it is that responsible dietary advice must be drawn from looking at a complete body of evidence, including rigorous, gold standard randomized control trials when they are available. The study referenced in your paper was not a randomized control trial. Rather, it was an observational study which cannot be relied upon to determine cause and effect. However there are numerous randomized control trials which have convincingly shown that lean beef, when included as part of a healthy, balanced diet, improves heart health by lowering cholesterol. Most recently, the BOLD (Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet) study showed that eating lean beef every day as part of a heart-healthy diet, could reduce LDL cholesterol by 10 percent.
Furthermore, lean beef provides many under-consumed nutrients such as potassium, phosphorous and vitamin B12 along with vital nutrients such as iron and zinc which are more easily absorbed when they come from meat rather than vegetables. If that isn’t enough to convince you, a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that when people ate high-quality protein foods such as lean beef for breakfast, they had a greater sense of sustained fullness throughout the day compared to when more protein was eaten at lunch or dinner. A research review, “The Underappreciated Role of Muscle in Health and Disease,” also published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, indicated that increasing daily high-quality protein intake could optimize muscle strength and metabolism, and ultimately improve overall health.
Your readers deserve to know that a 3-ounce serving of lean beef provides a powerhouse of 10 essential nutrients, such as protein, zinc and iron, for about 150 calories, on average which means they can enjoy lean beef as part of a healthy, balanced diet that aligns with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the “MyPlate” food guide.
The bottom line is there is strong scientific evidence to support the role of lean beef in a healthy, balanced diet and there is nothing in the study you referenced that changes that fact. Solid, gold standard research clearly shows that choosing lean beef as part of a healthful diet is associated with improved overall nutrient intake, overall diet quality and positive health outcomes.
In Good Health,