They Finally Got It Right
By Dennis Sun
The months of developing, discussing, writing and outreach are completed for the 2020-25 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. We’ve long awaited the results as in the past, the meat industry – especially beef – did not hold favorable light in the guidelines.
This time beef and lamb didn’t do as bad as committees recognized lean meats, especially lean beef, was a part of the approved foods. This change just didn’t happen, it took a lot of work.
After the 2015 Dietary Guidelines came out, beef was really kicked around and in essence, kicked off the food plate. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) took note of the kicking and a couple of years ago decided to really get involved with the 2020 Dietary Guideline’s committees to make sure what happened in 2015, didn’t happen in 2020.
They were successful. Working as a contractor to the beef councils, NCBA got involved with good beef data and presented the information to the committees. They explained how lean beef was a great protein source, as well as a great source of vitamins and minerals and eating lean beef was healthy and nutritious. NCBA also showed how there are around 30 lean cuts in a beef carcass.
While there is no one-size-fits-all diet, NCBA President Marty Smith said, “Beef is one of America’s favorite foods, and science consistently shows lean beef can be the cornerstone in a variety of healthy diets. Now more than ever, the key to proper nutrition is giving people practical and realistic advice, to help create balanced diets that work for them, featuring foods they love – like beef – which pairs perfectly with other nutrient-rich foods.”
The NCBA press release said the Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasized the importance of making every bite count by choosing nutrient-rich foods most often which is easy to do with beef. No other protein food delivers the same nutrient-rich package as beef in about 170 calories, on average per three-ounce serving of cooked beef. Beef is a good source of 10 essential nutrients including high-quality protein, iron, zinc and choline in more than 30 lean cuts.
The guidelines also recommended beef for pregnant and lactating mothers. The guidelines also give advice on children from infancy to two years old, something as I understand, hasn’t been done in the past.
It has been proven children who develop bad eating habits usually keep them through their lifetime. Children of ages nine through 18 have the least healthy eating habits of any age, so there is good reason to get kids off to a good start.
Besides telling the story of how nutritious beef is, NBCA is also telling the story on cattle and the environment. As many know, there are a number of people out there saying we should get rid of cattle as they harm the environment. We know it is not true, and the facts prove us right. We just have to tell the story, and NCBA is doing just that. We applaud them for their good work.
Everyone should read these dietary guidelines, first to see how our own families can improve our eating habits, and second to show how others can improve their eating habits by eating beef. Producers have an opportunity with COVID-19 and everyone cooking at home now. The fact is most everyone likes beef, so let’s tell the story. We have the 2020-25 Dietary Guidelines to back us up.
“Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.”