By: Eric Mittenthal
A few studies about the nutrition benefits of meat and poultry have caught our eye recently. As the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee considers nutrition evidence in developing a report that will become the basis for the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, these might be helpful to keep in mind.
- Study Questions CDC Sodium Recommendations: This study, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, found that the low level of sodium intake recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) could actually be bad for your health. The researchers say evidence shows that the average daily sodium intake of most Americans is actually associated with better health outcomes than intake levels currently recommended by the CDC and major health departments. It concluded that 2,645 – 4,945 mg of sodium per day, a range of intake within which the vast majority of Americans fall, actually results in more favorable health outcomes than the CDC’s current recommendation of less than 2300mg/day for healthy individuals under 50 years old, and less than 1500 mg/day for most over 50 years. This study was a combined analysis of 25 individual studies, which measured results from over 274,683 individuals.
- Study Finds Vegetarian Diets Linked to Poor Health: Published in PLOS One, this Austrian study looked at health outcomes in 1320 people based on their reported diet and lifestyle factors. It found that overall, vegetarians are in a poorer state of health compared to the other dietary habit groups and more likely to suffer from chronic disease, cancer, allergies and mental health ailments as well as have a lower quality of life.
- Study Finds Animal Protein Associated With Improved Physical and Mental Function in Old Age. This study from Japan and published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that diet rich in animal protein may help older men maintain higher levels of physical, psychological and social function. The authors conclude that animal protein intake may be a modifiable indicator for early detection and prevention of higher‐level functional decline in elderly adults.
These studies are just a few examples of the current science on what are complex nutrition issues. While so much research is reported as “cut and dry” outcomes, a wide range of studies must be considered to get the whole story. We think the research is clear that meat has a great nutrition story to tell. As part of a healthy, balanced eating plan, the science has shown it has a range of important benefits that contributes to our overall health and wellness. We hope this new and relevant research will be added to the Dietary Guidelines Committee’s plate.