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By: Claudia Scott Wright, TSCRA Director and Association Promotion Committee Chair
Every five years the United States Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services joint Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) is charged with revising Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
In December 2014, the DGAC held a closed door meeting and approved the elimination of nutrient dense lean meat from their proposed healthy diet recommendations. The lack of transparency in this meeting concerns me and leads me to believe this decision wasn’t made with sound science.
As a mother, cancer survivor and fourth generation cattle rancher, I am appalled by the federal government’s seemingly all-out war on the meat industry. In fact, the suggestion of removing meat from the dietary guidelines only encourages Americans to make poor diet choices by excluding a great source of protein and vitamins from their meals.
While the DGAC has proposed removal of all meat from their suggested diet, as a cattle rancher I can tell you first-hand about the many health benefits of implementing beef into your diet.
Beef provides an extremely important source of protein for those who eat it. A 3 ounce serving of lean beef provides 51 percent of the daily value for protein. Including protein at the center of your plate will help you manage your weight, retain muscle mass, lower your risk for heart disease, improve blood sugars and make your bones stronger. The protein in beef helps you maintain a healthy metabolism and adding it to your meals can make you feel satisfied longer.
Additionally, beef is one of the most nutrient rich food products because it packs a powerhouse of essential vitamin nutrients that benefit people of all ages. It provides an excellent source of zinc, vitamins B12 and B6, selenium, phosphorus, niacin, choline, iron and riboflavin. These resources help provide a healthy body that will give you energy throughout the day.
Some schools across the country have decided to practice “meatless Mondays,” therefore removing meat from school lunches every Monday. The USDA has also supported this initiative in the past. In my opinion, this is not the way to start off a kid’s week and I have many concerns with the trend of removing meat from meals.
It is crucial for young children to receive a sufficient amount of protein and nutrients. I remember when my daughter was younger; I made sure she had meat implemented into her diet. I knew including this important food source would provide the healthy resources needed to make her grow strong.
I would never suggest that vegetables be removed from a person’s diet, so why should anyone suggest taking meat off the plate. I believe the five food groups of meat, vegetables, fruits, grains and dairy are essential in a person’s diet and they are included for a good reason. No single food group can provide all the nutrients you need each day. Moderation and balance is key and it is what we should be teaching our kids.
Meat has always been on the menu at my house and it always will be. There is no denying the many health advantages beef and other meat and poultry sources provide for people of all ages worldwide.
I strongly encourage everyone involved in the meat and poultry industry, as well as producer groups to take a stand and let the DGAC know the many positive aspects of meat in a person’s diet and how their dietary guidelines proposal must be reconsidered.
The TSCRA will remain actively involved to make sure meat remains a part of the American diet. We will do everything it takes to educate our kids and consumers on the many benefits of implementing this nutrient rich food source into their meals.
Claudia Scott Wright is a TSCRA Director and chair of the TSCRA Association Promotion Committee. She is the wife of Quinn Wright, the mother of Caylin Wright and the daughter of TSCRA Past President Dave Scott. Claudia owns a real estate business and is a cattle rancher in Richmond.
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