By Dr. Richard Thorpe, TSCRA first vice president
On Jan. 7, The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) released the final version of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The report comes after the agencies deliberated over a year on what exactly should be included in a healthy and balanced diet for American consumers.
I am pleased the new dietary guidelines reaffirm the important role lean beef plays in a healthy dietary pattern. As a physician and rancher from Winters, Texas, I can tell you that lean beef is not only delicious – scientific research studies have proven time and time again that it is also incredibly healthy.
The new guidelines are based on sound science and confirm that Americans are, on average, consuming fresh lean meat (including lean beef) at levels consistent with the 2015 Dietary Guidelines. When compared calorie-per-calorie to other food sources, many studies and scientific evidence shows beef is one of the most naturally nutrient rich foods.
Beef provides 10 nutrients that are essential to a healthy, active way of life. It includes zinc, which strengthens your immune system to help fight against illness. It also contains a high amount of Iron to create red blood cells and keep you from being anemic. If you are lacking energy, you might consider eating more lean beef because it contains B-complex vitamins to boost your metabolism, create energy and maintain brain function.
Beef is most known for being a protein-packed food source. Protein is the building block of all the cells in your body that form and maintain your muscles and bones.
Additionally, it contains choline to support your nervous system, selenium to protect blood cells from damage, riboflavin to convert food to fuel and phosphorus to build strong bones and teeth. The science proving beef contains these essential nutrients should make you confident in including it or adding it to your plate for a healthy meal.
I realize each person is different and must develop a meal plan that best fits their particular dietary needs. No single food group can provide all the nutrients you need daily, so I always recommend my patients practice balance by including fruits and vegetables along with beef. This is why I also encourage Americans to consider the 2015 Dietary Guidelines as they build a diet that works for them.
TSCRA appreciates the Congressional leaders who worked to make sure lean meat was included in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines.
TSCRA also thanks the many ranchers and beef industry leaders who submitted comments to the USDA and HHS. Your continued efforts were successful in reaffirming lean beef’s role in the new guidelines.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, TSCRA appreciates the many members and ranchers for providing a product that continues to be included in the dietary guidelines. Due to their tireless work, there are now 38 cuts of beef that meet government guidelines for lean meat. This is an impressive number we can all be proud of as cattle raisers, and I know we will only continue to produce a healthy product that should always be included in the dietary guidelines for Americans.
Richard Thorpe, III is the owner and operator of Mesa T Ranch, headquartered in Winters, Texas. Thorpe currently serves as the first vice president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA), and he became a TSCRA director in March 2006.