Human Nutrition Research
The Human Nutrition Research program studies how to establish beef as an everyday part of a healthful diet through investigating its role in health and well-being. This includes beef’s role in improving vitality and stamina, increasing emotional and physical satisfaction as well as weight management, optimal body composition and metabolism, and beef’s positive contribution to diet quality, consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, with its natural nutrients and lipids. For example, research reviews (Red Meat & Cancer), fact sheets (different types of beef in the marketplace, grass finished vs. grain-finished and understanding the lipid profile of beef) and summaries of research projects are available.
Use the fly-out menu bar on the left to find Fact Sheets and other information on beefs role in a healthful diet.
Impact of Grass/Forage Feeding versus Grain Finishing on Beef Nutrients and Sensory Quality
Source: Van Elswyk ME, McNeill SH. Impact of Grass/Forage Feeding versus Grain Finishing on Beef Nutrients and Sensory Quality: The U.S. Experience. Meat Sci 2014;96(1):535-540. To access this study, click here.
U.S. customers choose to purchase “grass-fed” beef over grain-finished beef, for numerous reasons, largely based on perceptions including promotion of animal well-being, environmental sustainability and superior nutritional profile. A recently published manuscript summarizes the nutrient and sensory quality data from published U.S. studies comparing beef from grass-fed to that of grain-finished cattle. In the U.S., grass-fed beef appears to be leaner than grain-finished beef but largely at the expense of monounsaturated fatty acids, which can help lower bad cholesterol levels in your blood as well as lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Both U.S. grass-fed and grain-finished beef contribute similar n-3 fatty acid content, predominately in the form of linolenic acid. In addition, lean beef from either grass-fed or grain-finished cattle, can make a modest impact to n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid intake goals while contributing a limited amount of total fat to the diet. Regardless of feeding regime, evidence from U.S. studies suggests that beef from both grass-fed and grain-finished cattle contributes a wide variety of important nutrients to the U.S. diet and consumption of either can be compatible with efforts to improve the overall diet quality of Americans.
Disentangling Myths and Realities about Lean Beef
Source: McNeill S, Lofgren P, Van Elswyk M. The Role of Lean Beef in Healthful Dietary Patterns: Myths Versus Reality. Nutrition Today 2013; 48(4):181-8. To access this study, click here.
Over the years, the Western dietary pattern, characterized by excessive consumption of refined grains, sugar, fat, animal products (including red meat), has frequently been associated with diet-related chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It should not, however, be assumed that all dietary components are equally to blame. With that in mind, the checkoff is working to identify the independent effects of individual foods, such as red meat (including lean beef), on health outcomes. researchers have reviewed assumptions and realities about the role of lean beef in various healthful dietary patterns: Lean beef is a naturally rich source of six essential nutrients (protein, selenium, zinc, niacin, vitamins B12 and B6) and a good source of phosphorus, choline, iron, and riboflavin, which fit well in a healthy, active lifestyle. Because 94 percent of Americans eat beef at least monthly, dietary advice encouraging consumption of leaner cuts of beef as part of an overall healthy diet will help the checkoff promote positive dietary change, countering advice to limit beef consumption.
Beneficial Effects of a Higher-Protein Breakfast
Source: Leidy HJ, Ortinau LC, Douglas SM, Hoertel HA. Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, "breakfast-skipping," late-adolescent girls. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Apr;97(4):677-88. To access this study, click here.
A recent checkoff-funded study out of the University of Missouri, led by Dr. Heather Leidy, indicates that the daily consumption of a higher protein breakfast (containing 2 eggs and 1.5 oz of beef) is superior to both a normal protein breakfast such as milk and cereal and skipping breakfast altogether in terms of improving appetite control, curbing food cravings, and reducing unhealthy snacking in overweight or obese teenage girls who routinely skip their breakfast meal. In addition, the girls' consumption of a higher protein breakfast led to beneficial alterations in hormonal and neural signals that control food intake regulation and appetite including: reductions in perceived hunger and increases in perceived fullness throughout the day; reductions in the activation in brain regions that control food cravings and food reward, especially in the evening; and reductions in night-time snacking, particularly of high fat foods.
This checkoff-funded research performed by Dr. Leidy laid the foundation for the highly attended webinar "The Hunger Games: Applying the Science of Satiety to Fuel Health" which was presented by Food and Nutrition Communications. Additionally, the results from this research provided the basis for an advertisement for the State Beef Councils.
This study was also partially funded by the Kansas Beef Council.
BOLD-Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) in January 2012 provides strong scientific evidence that eating lean beef every day as part of a heart-healthy diet improves cholesterol levels. This research shows that adding daily servings of lean beef to the low saturated fat, high fiber, heart-healthy diet typically recommended by health professionals (such as DASH, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) can lower heart disease risk by reducing levels of LDL "bad" cholesterol. Go to Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) to access the full study on the AJCN website.
Red Meat and Processed Meat Consumption and Cancer...A Technical Summary of the Epidemiologic Evidence
is a 94-page book examining the totality of evidence on the subject of red meat consumption and cancer.
Copies are available through our Beef Web Store under the Nutrition Research/Materials tab or you may call our customer service department, 1-800-368-3138. The price is $32.00 each, including shipping.
Go to Technical Summary to download the full report.
Go to Executive Summary to read an overview.
In November 2009, an editorial was printed in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which put into perspective the onslaught of health and nutrition research reported to the public on an almost daily basis. The authors, Steven Woloshin, Lisa M. Schwartz, and Barnett S. Kramer succinctly clarify through examples the dubious conclusions that are often drawn from reports of exaggerated research findings. This editorial helps both today’s health and nutrition professional and consumers put the latest “breakthrough research” into perspective.
Promoting Health Skepticism in the News: Helping Journalists Get It Right
Statement of Principles Regarding Nutrition and Health
Development and Validation of the Nutrient-Rich Foods Index: A Tool to Measure Nutritional Quality of Foods
Frequently Asked Questions: Beef Checkoff-Funded Database Improvement Research
Experimental Biology Meeting