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Moderation in all things

The important role which meat can play within a healthy, balanced diet was the key message delivered in a recent conference entitled ‘Sustaining the health of the nation’.

‘Moderation in all things’ was the overriding message from a June conference, ‘Sustaining the health of the nation – what role for red meat?’, hosted by EBLEX, BPEX and the Meat Trades Journal. Sadly this simple and common-sense message is often drowned out by many of the confusing, scaremongering headlines in the media, many of which have little scientific basis. 

Professor Peter Aggett, Chaiman of the SACN (Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition) ‘Iron working Group’, highlighted the major gaps in current understanding of nutrition and health, and called for further research on the impacts of both iron deficiency and excess, which may well have consequences for advice on optimum levels of meat consumption. 

Dr Tara Garnett from the Food Climate Research Network, whilst acknowledging the important nutritional contribution of meat, put the case for ‘less but better’ meat consumption in order to develop a more sustainable food system. 

Judy Buttriss of the BNF (British Nutrition Foundation) said that the lack of accuracy, balance and consistency in the media was causing confusion among consumers.

Philip Ridley, representing the Weston A. Price Foundation, pointed to the health benefits of many traditional diets, in which natural animal products played a substantial part, rather than a typical diet of today containing many highly refined and processed foods.

Dr Carrie Ruxton, a member of the Meat Advisory Panel, stressed that more needed to be done to stress the nutritional benefits that come from eating the recommended levels of red meat in order to tackle micronutrient deficiencies during various human life stages.

The Meat Advisory Panel recently published a report 'Red meat and the seven ages of man' to highlight the special dietary needs of infants and pre-school children, pre-pubescent children and teenagers, pregnant women and middle and older age groups.