12 Good Reasons Meat and Poultry Should be Part of Your Balanced diet.

Great taste, alone, shouldn’t dictate your dietary choices. Here are 12 good reasons meat and poultry should be part of your balanced diet.

 

1. Protein.  Naturally and completely.  
Protein. Naturally and completely
Protein found in meat and poultry is “complete” because it contains all the amino acids essential for health.  Animal proteins are complete proteins.[i] And they occur naturally – no protein powder needed. 
 
2. Iron rich. 
Iron rich
Meat, fish and poultry contains heme iron, which helps to prevent anemia because the body absorbs this iron better than non-heme iron found in plant foods such as vegetables. Heme iron foods help the body absorb non-heme iron. [ii]
 
3. Bioavailable nutrition.    
Bioavailable nutrition
Nutrients in meat, including iron and zinc are typically more easily absorbed and used by the body.
 
4. Muscle strength and maintenance.  
Muscle strength and maintenance
High- quality protein, e.g. meat and poultry, have been shown to prevent muscle loss as we age more effectively than other protein foods.[iii] 
 
5. Bone strength.  
Bone strength
Meatless diets have been shown to contain lower amounts of calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B-12, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, which have important roles in maintaining bone health.[iv] 
 
6. Brain function.  
Brain function
Animal products like meat are the only natural sources of Vitamin B12, which promotes brain development in children[v] and helps your nervous system function properly.[vi] 
 
7. Heart health.  
Heart health
Mounting, recent evidence shows that lean meat protein could help maintain healthy cardiovascular function.[vii] 
 
8. Blood Sugar Control.    
Blood Sugar Control
A high protein and low carbohydrate diet, which could include lean meat and poultry, can help to control blood sugars. [viii][ix]
 
9. Zinc immunity.  
Zinc immunity
Zinc helps maintain optimal immune function and promotes wound healing.[xxi]Beef is the top dietary source of zinc in the diet.[xii] 
 
10. Selenium-rich.  
Selenium-rich
A serving of beef or lamb delivers half a human’s daily selenium needs. Selenium is an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage, promotes proper thyroid function, and may contribute to cancer prevention.[xiii] 
 
11. Weight management.  
Weight management
High protein diets that include lean meat and poultry have been shown to promote long term weight loss better than other diets.[xiv][xv] 
 
12. Tastes good.  
Tastes good
No explanation needed. 
 

[i] Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, American Dietetic Association, 2006, P. 507

[iii] Nutrient-rich meat proteins in offsetting age-related muscle loss, 58th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology, 2102

[iv] Vegetarian diets and bone status, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2014

[v] Effects of vitamin B12 and folate deficiency on brain development in children, Food Nutrition Bulletin, 2008

[vi] Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1998

[x] Ainc nutriture in the elderly in relation to taste acuity, immune response, and wound healing. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1982

[xi] Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 2001.

[xii] Effect of beef and soy proteins on the absorption of non-heme iron and inorganic zinc in children. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2006

[xiii] Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 2000.

[xiv] Diets with High or Low Protein Content and Glycemic Index for Weight-Loss Maintenance, New England Journal of Medicine, 2010

[xv] Effect of an energy-restricted, high-protein, low-fat diet relative to a conventional high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet on weight loss, body composition, nutritional status, and markers of cardiovascular health in obese women, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2005

[xxi] Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1998