Human Nutrition

For nearly 100 years, America’s farmers and ranchers have supported nutrition research to advance the understanding of beef’s role in a balanced and healthful diet. Farmers and ranchers are committed to providing a wholesome, nutritious food to Americans and building the evidence supporting beef’s role in health and wellbeing. Checkoff-funded human nutrition research is the foundation for all industry nutrition education and communication initiatives.

Statement of Principles Regarding Nutrition and Health
The beef industry’s principles guiding actions and communications about beef in regard to nutrition and health.

Beef Checkoff Comments Submitted to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, has submitted 21 sets of public comments and hundreds of research studies to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The comments review the science on a variety of topics ranging from beef’s role in health at every life stage, its relationship to heart health, and best scientific practices in evaluating beef-related research, including accurate meat definitions.

Current Research Projects

The Human Nutrition Research Program currently has projects, funded by the Beef Checkoff, that focus on human clinical trials investigating healthy diets, across the lifespan, where beef is the primary source of dietary protein, and focuses on the impact of cardiometabolic health, strength, and performance. Additionally, research explores beef’s role in a healthy, sustainable diet. Literature reviews on hot topics related to beef nutrition are also included.

Quick Access

Lean Matters: Chronicling Beef’s Change from Gate to Plate: A Distinctive Public-Private Collaboration

Farmers, ranchers, packers, processors, retailers, researchers, nutrition professionals, and even consumers have worked together to help shape the evolution of today’s leaner beef. This checkoff-funded, 16-page booklet describes the changes along the beef supply chain that have led to the growing number of lean cuts. 

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Access the Lean Matters 16-slide PowerPoint

Disentangling the Myths and Realities about Lean Beef
The association between dietary patterns and health has emerged as an important central concept in the development of dietary recommendations. The Western dietary pattern is most commonly defined as a diet characterized by high intakes of refined grains, sugar, fat, red meat and other animal products, and is frequently associated with negative health outcomes including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. However it should not be assumed that all dietary components of the Western dietary pattern are equally culpable. This article published in Nutrition Today, reviews the myths and realities regarding the role of lean beef in various healthful dietary patterns.


Related Links

Beef Nutrition
Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. The latest beef nutrition information and resources.

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

Ground Beef Nutrient Calculator

Fresh Meat and Poultry Product Labeler
Use this tool to access the correct nutrient data, based on USDA’s Nutrient Database, needed to create labels, posters and point-of-sale materials for all fresh beef, veal, pork, lamb and chicken sold at retail.  

Browse the Human Nutrition Research Library

Use the filter tool to find a variety of checkoff-funded resources on topics related to beef nutrition e.g. protein, lean beef, heart health, etc.

Featured Resources

Beef as a First Food

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the World Health Organization recommend the introduction of complementary foods to infants by 6 months of age. At that age, the infant’s needs for several nutrients, including iron, zinc, and calcium, can no longer be met with breast milk alone. Beef as a First Food explores the infant’s nutritional requirements and explains how beef provides infants with the iron and zinc needed for optimal cognitive and physical development.


Grass-Finished or Grain-Finished Beef?

All beef is nutritious, wholesome, and delicious. Check out this infographic to compare the nutritional differences between grass-finished and grain-finished beef.