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Fat is an Essential Nutrient

face.JPGDo you know the story behind the BEEF Daily Quick Facts that are featured at the end of every BEEF Daily blog post? When this blog and newsletter was started in September of 2008, it quickly became known as the sounding board for beef industry issues, news and positive stories. Soon it became apparent that BEEF Daily readers wanted more than to be informed about the issues; they wanted to take action. When a reader suggested that I include a beef fact with every blog, I knew it was just the ticket to help equip producers with the information they needed to begin telling the beef cattle story. This past week, my BEEF Daily Quick Facts have discussed the benefits of beef as a part of a healthy diet, and I included information on the functions of zinc, iron and protein. Today, I would like to discuss another essential nutrient found in beef, the biggest beef misconception of all: FAT.

As found in the featured article, Beef: Nutrients That Work As Hard As You Do, fat is an essential nutrient. It provides for the absorption of fatsoluble vitamins and the formation of hormones, and it can be used as an energy source. More than half the fatty acids in beef are monounsaturated, the same type of fatty acids found in olive oil and championed for their heart-healthy properties. In addition, approximately one third of the saturated fat in beef is stearic acid, which is shown to have a neutral effect on blood cholesterol. Lean beef fits easily into low-fat meal plans designed to decrease blood cholesterol levels. Research shows that Americans can eat six ounces of lean red meat five or more days a week as part of a cholesterol-lowering diet. Lean beef has been shown to be just as effective as skinless chicken when it comes to lowering blood cholesterol levels. To select lean cuts, look for the words "round" or "loin" in the name, such as sirloin or top round.

So, when you head to the coffee shop today, be sure to discuss the benefits of fat as a healthy part of a well-balance diet. Everything in moderation is good for you. I'm confident that fat plays a vital role in my family's lifestyle, and people should feel good about enjoying that juicy steak on the grill this summer. Good luck beef advocates! Go shout your message from the roof tops!

BEEF Daily Quick Fact: B-vitamins work to promote growth and maintain health. You need essential B-vitamins to "unleash" the energy in food. Exciting research indicates that improvement in Bvitamin status may have a protective effect against cognitive decline such as age-related dementia. Calorie for calorie, beef is one of the best sources of many B-vitamins.