Healthy Diets Amanda Radke

Growing evidence supports many benefits of meat-based diets

Mainstream nutritional advice continues to erroneously tell the public that red meat is bad for your health. Yet, a growing body of evidence tells us otherwise.

Health and wellness advice can be very contradicting at times. For example, we’re told to avoid the sun to reduce our risk of skin cancer, but by doing so, we’re becoming vitamin D deficient. Low vitamin D levels are often associated with cancer, cardiovascular diseases and autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Because of the associated risks and the recommendation to wear plenty of sunscreen and avoid harmful UV rays, the sales of vitamin D supplements have skyrocketed. However, is popping a pill really the best way to ensure we are maintaining the recommended levels to be healthy? There must be an easy, more natural way to get the vitamin D we need.

Turns out, in addition to beef’s many health benefits, it is also a great solution to those seeking a boost in vitamin D.

According to Csaba Toth and Zsofia Clemens for Paleomedicina, “There is evidence to prove that the vitamin D level greatly depends on nutrition, and that appropriate nutrition alone is able to supply a satisfactory amount of vitamin D to our body even if we miss sunlight and don’t take vitamin D tablets.

"A study of the Inuit living in Greenland has found that the more western-type foods, such as fruits, vegetables, breads and pastries, milk and milk products, the local indigenous Inuits ate, the lower the vitamin D level in their blood was. And, conversely, the more traditional Inuit foods like meat and fat they consumed (that is, the more they retained the paleo-ketogenic diet), the higher the vitamin D level was in their blood.”

The authors add, “The reason for continual vitamin D deficiency in civilized human beings lies in their diets. Ever since we were warned against eating animal-based nutriments, our vitamin D levels have constantly been low.

READ: Are vegetable proteins equal to the protein found in beef?

“If you want your vitamin D3 level to be balanced, if you want to ensure your child’s well-being and maximally diminish the risk of cancer, autoimmune disease and other diseases of civilization, consider this: Eat red meat daily, and offal at least twice a week. Have animal (not vegetable) fats every day. Don’t eat too much fruit and avoid food preparations containing added fructose.”

Yet, despite the growing evidence that a diet that centers around animal fats and proteins is beneficial to our well-being and overall health, the mainstream rhetoric continues to be that these diets are dangerous and should be avoided.

Gary Taubes and Nina Teicholz recently criticized the popular diet advice of the last 50 years in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times. Addressing a report released by the U.S. News & World Report that ranked diets, Taubes and Teicholz noted that while the DASH and Mediterranean diets topped the list as the “best,” these diets largely ignore the growing evidence that low fat, high carbohydrate diets lead to obesity-related diseases.

Taubes and Teicholz write, “It's clear that U.S. News — which employed an expert panel to rate 40 diets on various criteria — merely recapitulated questionable dietary advice that has gone by a succession of names since the 1970s — low-fat, DASH, USDA-style, plant-based. The basic set of recommendations have remained the same, emphasizing plant foods (grains, cereals, fruits and vegetables) over animal products (eggs, regular dairy, meat), and vegetable oils over natural animal fats such as butter.

READ: Good news for meat lovers; your diet is sustainable and healthy

“According to government data, Americans have largely followed these recommendations over the last 50 years, notably increasing their consumption of grains, vegetables and fruits and eating less whole milk, butter, meat and eggs. The outcome? In that time, rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes have skyrocketed. Something has gone terribly wrong.

“Why would 25 doctors, dietitians and nutritionists on the U.S. News panel choose a dietary philosophy that has — so far, at least — failed us? They might be entrenched in their opinions, supported by the industries that benefit from these diets, motivated by non-nutrition agendas such as animal-rights activism, or they might simply have fallen into the easy convenience of groupthink.”

Taubes and Teicholz then reference studies of people who have forgone carbohydrates in preference to animal fats and proteins to essentially cure themselves of diabetes, lose weight and improve cardiovascular risk factors.

Whether it’s boosting your vitamin D levels, fighting cancer, losing weight, reducing your cardiovascular risk, promoting lean muscle mass or boosting brain function, there are infinite benefits to a diet that is centered around meat. Share this great news on social media this week and let’s help spread the word!

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.

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