The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reaffirm the role of lean beef in a healthy diet and confirm that Americans are, on average, consuming lean meat in daily amounts that are consistent with the recommendations for protein foods.
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Philip Ellis commended HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack for ensuring the final recommendations were based on the latest nutrition evidence available.
Dr. Richard Thorpe, a physician and Texas cattle producer, agreed, saying he is pleased the guidelines recognize all the strong science that supports the many Americans who are looking to build a healthful diet with lean beef.
“As a physician, I appreciate the Secretaries making sure the dietary guidelines are based on the latest nutrition science,” said Thorpe. “Numerous studies have shown positive benefits of lean beef in the diet, and I commonly encourage my patients to include beef in their diet to help them maintain a healthy weight and get the nutrients they need to be physically active. Lean beef is a wholesome, nutrient-rich food that helps us get back to the basics of healthy eating, providing many essential nutrients such as zinc, iron, protein and B vitamins, with fewer calories than many plant-based sources of protein.”
Updated every five years, this report serves as the foundation for federal nutrition policy and shapes the recommendations found on USDA’s MyPlate. While there is no one-size-fits-all diet, Dr. Thorpe said consumers can feel confident about putting lean beef on their plate knowing the Dietary Guidelines recommend Americans choose lean meat. Thirty-eight cuts of beef now meet government guidelines for lean, including some of America’s favorite cuts like sirloin steak and 95 percent lean ground beef.
“Over the last decade or so, a significant amount of research shows that many people can lose and maintain a healthy weight, support a healthy metabolism and age more vibrantly when they consume more high-quality protein, within calorie goals,” said Thorpe. “As a physician, I see an opportunity to improve the health of Americans in all age categories by choosing nutrient rich protein foods, like lean beef, more often and by pairing them with more vegetables, fruits and whole grains.”
Ellis, a Wyoming rancher, noted the changes in today’s retail meat case and said cattlemen and women provide a healthful product consumers demand.
“U.S. cattle producers work each and every day to provide safe, wholesome and nutritious beef for consumers around the world,” said Ellis. “Since the first Dietary Guidelines were released in 1980, external fat on beef has decreased 81 percent and 65 percent of the most popular beef cuts sold at retail are lean, a prime example of beef producers responding to consumers’ nutritional preferences.”