A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Why I Eat Beef: Perspectives from a Meat Eater on Meatout Day

On the occasion of Meatout 2012, I thought I'd share my perspectives on why I eat meat, every day, mostly BEEF, as part of a healthful diet. Yes, that's right, I said I eat beef every day as part of a healthful diet. I will explain further in a moment. But first, in case you aren't familiar with Meatout, here is an explanation from their website (because I refuse to link to it):
"On (or around) March 20, thousands of caring people in all 50 U.S. states and two dozen other countries encourage their friends, families, and communities to 'kick the meat habit'  and explore a wholesome, compassionate diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains."
I find it interesting that the focus of this statement is on a "wholesome diet" when the organization behind Meatout is not a group of dietitians, doctors or health experts of any kind. Meatout is orchestrated by the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), a 501(c)(3) national nonprofit organization "working to end the use of animals for food."

I think this is important to note because most anti-meat campaigns like Meatout and Meatless Monday have their roots in animal rights activism. So, for the record, I believe it is OK to raise animals to produce food. I also believe every animal raised for food should be treated properly throughout their life and the people I work for in the beef community believe the same.

Now, back to why I eat meat...

Beef provides 10 percent of 10 essential nutrients
for less than 10 percent of your daily calories.
I eat meat every day, mostly beef, because I know beef is a nutrient powerhouse that helps me “protein up” to provide the fuel to finish my everyday workouts, Ironman 70.3 triathlons and multi-day events like Ride the Rockies. In a study  on the effects of protein consumption on the muscle hypertropy during exercise, individuals who ate protein within an hour of exercise achieved more lean body mass than those who just ate protein in the morning and evening. Individuals also lost more fat when eating protein closer to the time of exercise. (Cribb, PJ and Hayes, A., Med Sci Sports Exerc, 38(11):1918-25, 2006.)

I eat beef because it provides the fuel my body needs to be physically active. Beef is a good or excellent source of 10 essential nutrients like zinc, iron, protein and B vitamins. Just remember the 10/10/10 rule. Beef provides more than 10 percent of 10 essential nutrients for less than 10 percent of your daily calories.

A Peanut Butter Power Bar provides less
than half the protein and more than twice
the calories than a 3 oz. serving of lean beef.
I even eat beef for weight maintenance during the winter months (at age 47 I find it harder and harder to avoid winter weight gain), I know that lean beef is a great source of high-quality protein in a low calorie, nutrient-rich package. On average, a 3-ounce serving of lean beef provides 154 calories and nearly 50 percent of the Daily Value for protein (25 grams). That's a lot less than peanut butter, black beans or other plant based protein sources, especially protein bars (a PowerBar Peanut Butter packs 240 calories for only 9 grams of protein!).

Finally, I eat beef because I know the latest research shows that eating lean beef as part of a heart healthy diet, every day, helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.

And that, my friends, is why I eat BEEF every day (even on Mondays)!

Ride on!


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