Beef Checkoff Answers, “What should eating right look like?”

Lean beef's competitive advantageAs obesity came further into question by the nutrition community, the beef checkoff strived to answer this question: “What should eating right look like?” Physical activity and eating right are important at all life stages, and the benefits last a lifetime!

Examples of the importance of physical activity are numerous. In children, physical activity aids in development of strong bones and muscles. Exercise by teens reduces the risk for chronic diseases like osteoporosis and heart disease in adulthood. Adults who are physically active maintain, and possibly improve, their health, have a better sense of emotional well-being and have more control over their weight. In older adults, physical activity helps maintain strong bones and muscles, including the heart. It also aids digestion, fights depression, improves sleep and can boost alertness.

Beef Nutrition

The checkoff has talked about the protein equation, but meeting all nutrient needs within the calorie allowance allotted by age, gender and activity level can be challenging when we look at “eating right.” Beef supplies significantly fewer calories and more nutrients than many plant proteins.  It often takes more than twice the calories to get the same amount of protein from beans, nuts and grains compared to beef. For example, a 3-ounce serving of lean beef provides 25 grams of protein in less than 160 calories, on average. It would take 6 tablespoons of peanut butter (564 calories) or 1¾ cups of black beans (382 calories) to provide the same amount of protein.

With this research in hand, your beef checkoff worked to develop more lean cuts of beef to meet protein and calorie needs. In just 15 years, the number of lean beef cuts has quadrupled to nearly 40! Learn more about why Lean Matters.

Beef checkoff's fatty acid comparison of beef, chicken, fish and olive oilBut wait! Don’t discount the fat!

Your beef checkoff also questioned the long-held saturated-fat hypothesis as it relates to nutrition research. By taking an evidence-based approach, the checkoff discovered that whatever diet you want, beef can be included. It doesn’t always have to be lean beef.

For example, a common misperception is that the majority of the fatty acids in beef are saturated. In reality, however, half of the fatty acids in beef are monounsaturated, the same heart-healthy type found in olive oil. In addition, nearly one-third of the saturated fat in beef is stearic acid, a fatty acid that has been shown to have a neutral effect on LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol). Learn more about the good fat in beef at fatty acid profile for beef.

Eating Right for Older Adults – A Case Study

“We are conducting a checkoff-commissioned experimental obesity intervention with older adults who are frail, using protein to offset the challenge to muscle mass during weight loss,” says Connie Bales, Ph.D., R.D., professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine. “What we found was that weight reduction Fatty acid profile chart of beefwas good for everybody in the study but for those who had beef twice a day and a total of three meals per day, with 30 grams of protein in each, the increase in function at the end of the study was more than double that in the control group.

“We know that there are a lot of nutrients in beef besides protein, and we have also found beef to be a nice complement to lower-starch, lower-carb fruits and vegetables in the diet. It is helping to bring us away from this sense that we’re getting too many refined carbohydrates and maybe even starch in our diet. It’s very well-accepted in this aging population -- the idea of normal foods and a normal meal that you can chew.”

So regardless of which “diet” you choose to follow, beef can play an important role. Learn more about today’s choices of nutrient-rich beef.

Additional checkoff research also has been conducted on Protein’s Role in the Human Diet.

Learn more about your beef checkoff’s investment in human-nutrition research at BeefResearch.org and MyBeefCheckoff.com.