By: Eric Mittenthal
This week AMI Foundation Vice President of Scientific Affairs Betsy Booren, Ph.D., joined dozens of others presenting oral testimony at the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee meeting outside of Washington, D.C. The committee is tasked with the development of food-based recommendations that are of public health importance for Americans ages two years and older. Ultimately those recommendations will assist with the development of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans which “contain nutritional and dietary information and guidelines for the general public, and shall be based on the preponderance of scientific and medical knowledge current at the time of publication.”
In her comments Dr. Booren highlighted the important role fresh and ready-to-eat meat and poultry products as part of a balanced diet. While a common trend among food manufacturers today is products with added protein, meat and poultry products provide Americans a simple, direct, and balanced dietary source of complete proteins with all essential amino acids and are rich sources of micronutrients such as iron, selenium, Vitamins A, B12, and folic acid.
Some of the unique benefits of meat and poultry include:
- The only natural sources of Vitamin B12, which is important for normal metabolism and mental clarity.
- More bioavailability of iron and zinc meaning they are more easily absorbed and utilized by the body, than from grains or vegetables
- Improved availability of nutrients in vegetables and grains when consumed in combination
Benefits of Convenience Meat Products
Dr. Booren also discussed the benefits of convenience meat products, like marinated roasts, fully cooked home-style favorites like meatloaf or turkey breast and luncheon meats. These are offered in a variety of different formulations that fit Americans’ lifestyle and nutrition needs including low fat, low sodium, gluten free and more. Convenience meats also offer an exemplary safety record, are affordable and are important for sub-groups of the population who have limited options and are currently making less nutrient dense choices.
AMI and the AMI Foundation have also developed several resources on meat and poultry nutrition including a brochure on processed meats and a forthcoming brochure on the variety of nutrition benefits offered by meat and poultry including many of those mentioned in the comments to the committee. Ninety-six percent of Americans enjoy meat and poultry as part of their diets and it is commonly thought that Americans are over-consuming. Federal data show that on average, Americans consume within the recommended range, with men at the higher end of the range and women at the low end of the range. We hope the committee considers all of these facts as it makes its recommendations.