I believe one of the greatest dietary lies we have been told over the last four decades is that beef is bad for our health and causes things like heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes. It’s asinine to me to place blame on a wholesome, nutritious product like beef as an artery-clogging food that is detrimental to our health.
After all, a single 3-ounce serving of beef provides 10 essential nutrients including 48% of our daily protein needs and 22% of our vitamin B6 requirements. Plus, it has healthy fats and absorbable heme iron, all at just 170 calories. Try to find a food that is comparable for the same number of calories; peanut butter and legumes just can’t do it.
Consider beef’s nutritional profile and add to its credibility with the thousands of research studies that debunk these nutritional lies we have been told. The evidence is pretty damning for those nutritional professionals, physicians and activists who have staked their entire careers on telling us otherwise.
That’s why I so greatly appreciate what the beef checkoff does for producers. Using our checkoff investment, we are able to tell the true story about beef in a healthy diet using factual information. This information is shared with schools, nursing homes, physicians, nutritionists and other health professionals who work closely with babies, students, patients and the elderly.
Right now, the Texas Beef Council (TBC) is under attack for a brochure titled, “Your high cholesterol patients can enjoy lean beef.” The brochure is just one of TBC’s many educational pamphlets; this one compares beef to chicken and shares research that proves beef does not adversely affect blood cholesterol levels when compared to white meat like chicken.
According to Gene Hall for the Texas Farm Bureau, “The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has attacked beef industry claims that lean beef can be part of a heart healthy diet that helps manage cholesterol. The PCRM filed a complaint with the state of Texas, charging deceptive trade practices.”
From a PCRM press release, the organization has “filed a legal complaint on March 13 to stop TBC from publishing false and misleading health claims about beef products. The doctors’ complaint alleges that the brochures violate the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act, which forbids false, misleading, and deceptive business practices, including promoting products with false benefits they do not actually have.
“Using inaccurate medical advice to sell beef to heart disease patients, at the very moment they’re in their doctors’ offices to heal, is a new low,” said PCRM dietitian Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., in the release. “The TBC's misleading health claims are dangerous and can undermine these patients’ ability to get healthy.”
Despite PCRM’s name, the organization’s membership is hardly comprised of physicians at all. In fact, Newsweek reported in February 2004 that less than 5% of PCRM’s members are physicians.
As reported by watchdog group, Activist Facts, “PCRM is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. PCRM is a fanatical animal rights group that seeks to remove eggs, milk, meat, and seafood from the American diet, and to eliminate the use of animals in scientific research. Despite its operational and financial ties to other animal activist groups and its close relationship with violent zealots, PCRM has successfully duped the media and much of the general public into believing that its pronouncements about the superiority of vegetarian-only diets represent the opinion of the medical community.”
Activist Facts also asserts, “The American Medical Association (AMA), which actually represents the medical profession, has called PCRM a ‘fringe organization’ that uses ‘unethical tactics’ and is ‘interested in perverting medical science.’”
Yet, the name itself implies credibility, and it’s that, not a brochure on beef in the diet, that is misleading to the general public. Shame on the PCRM for this outright lie and attack on factual information that could help people get healthy, and cheers to the Texas Beef Council for utilizing checkoff dollars so effectively to share this credible research with physicians and their patients. They desperately need the information, and as a producer, I’m grateful for this effort.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.