In oral testimony delivered to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, AMI Foundation (AMIF) Vice President of Scientific Affairs Betsy Booren, Ph.D. emphasized the important role of fresh and ready-to-eat meat and poultry products as part of a balanced diet.
Dr. Booren noted that while a common trend amongst food manufacturers today is products with added protein, meat and poultry products provide Americans a simple, direct, and balanced dietary source of complete proteins with all essential amino acids and are rich sources of micronutrients such as iron, selenium, Vitamins A, B12, and folic acid.
“Foods from animals, including meat & poultry, are THE natural source of Vitamin B12, which is important for normal metabolism and mental clarity. Up to 16% of U.S. adults and more than 20% over 60 years old are marginally depleted in vitamin B12. Deficiency increases with age, with about 6% of those over 70 years old being deficient in vitamin B12. Meat & poultry are rich in nutrients your body can use, and help people derive more nutrients from vegetables and grains when consumed in combination. Iron and zinc in beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and fish are more “bioavailable,” meaning they are more easily absorbed and utilized by the body, than these minerals from grains or vegetables,” Dr. Booren said.
Dr. Booren also discussed the benefits of convenience meat products, like marinated roasts, fully cooked home-style favorites like meatloaf or turkey breast and luncheon meats. These are offered in a variety of different formulations that fit Americans’ lifestyle and nutrition needs including low fat, low sodium, gluten free and more. Convenience meats also offer an exemplary safety record, are affordable and are important for sub-groups of the population who have limited options and are currently making less nutrient dense choices.
“We agree that a variety of protein foods should be consumed,” Dr. Booren said. “However we also have shown that convenience meats can fit into healthy eating pattern and is an appropriate option for a healthy lifestyle. The meat and poultry industry also provides a variety of processed meats that include historical American favorites as well as whole muscle items, and many lower sodium, and leaner options.”
Dr. Booren’s full comments to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee are available here. AMIF will also submit more detailed written comments for the committee’s consideration.