The facts about beef

Created: 12/03/15 (Thu) | Topic: Education

For years, Americans have been told to decrease red meat consumption. Dr. Gary Sides told those attending the 2015 North Dakota Farm Bureau Annual Meeting to do just the opposite.

That’s because what we have been told is wrong, he said and the science proves it, if people would just look for it.

The low fat, high-carb diet that has been recommended for the last 40 years hasn’t decreased incidences of diabetes, cardiovascular disease or obesity. Sides says that in the last 40 years, grain consumption has increased by 41 percent, vegetable consumption by 23 percent. Yet obesity has also risen from 15 to 35 percent and diabetes from 1 to 11 percent.

At the same time, beef consumption has decreased by 45 percent, from 95 to 55 pounds per person per year. Yet beef contains all of the 20 essential amino acids required in the human diet.

“Essential amino acids means your body can’t make it. You have to get it in your diet. And plants don’t have the essential amino acids, but animals do.”

Sides said half of American women are iron deficient, and beef is also an important source of natural iron. Sides also said the essential B vitamins, specifically B12, only come from animal proteins.

He also said research shows that “fat in beef is heart healthy.”

Fat in beef is 30 percent Stearic Acid and 40 percent Oleic Acid.

“Both decrease triglycerides and bad cholesterol [vLDL] and increase the good cholesterol. The remaining 30 percent is neutral. So beef is heart healthy. The science has been saying that for decades, but when folks have been saying ‘Don’t eat fat’ for 40-50 years and they have government programs, it’s hard to say, ‘Sorry folks, I was wrong.’”

Sides said the real culprit for heart disease is refined carbohydrates. Sweden, he said, was the first country to reject the traditional low fat, high carb diet. “Sweden is recommending a high fat, high protein diet.”

Sides also pointed out that it is more important than ever to share the good story of agriculture.

“I can punch in a few letters on my smartphone and I can draw out the cumulative knowledge of mankind, but most people don’t know where their food comes from.”

Americans are dependent on technology, but they don’t understand the importance of that technology when it comes to our food. Sides says it is technological advancements in agriculture that have allowed our culture to prosper.

“There is no culture without agriculture,” he said. “We have a vibrant agricultural system, where less than 1 percent of us can feed everyone else so folks with other talents can express those talents where they’re not having to farm for a living.”

Three video excerpts from Gary's talk at the 73rd NDFB Annual Meeting can be found here.

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