Friday, 16 September 2016

Don't skip your steak

A recent government report looking at the nation's diet concluded that women are eating a lot less red meat...but their health risks could be increasing

The NDNS (National Diet and Nutrition Survey) report has recently revealed that women's red meat consumption in Britain has dropped, but ladies refusing red meat on their plates could be putting their health at risk.

A large portion of Britain's female population is opting out of including red proteins like veal, beef and pork in their meals. Previous health reports over the years have linked red meat with cancer, type two diabetes, Alzheimer's, E.coli and more.

Women's red meat consumption has declined from 58 grams a day in 2008-10 to just 47 grams today, after the government report looked into the nation's diet. Men, on the other hand, have not changed their meat eating habits. Dietitians from the Meat Advisory Panel (MAP) fear the risk of iron deficiency among women, as red meat is an important contributor of iron, zinc, iodine, selenium, vitamins B and D, and protein in diets. The iron in red meat is three times better absorbed than the iron in our greens, like spinach.

Dr Carrie Ruxton, a dietitian on the Meat Advisory Panel (MAP), comments: "We are now bombarded with messages to cut red meat consumption, through meat-free days, weeks or months. I fear this is rubbing off on the most vulnerable groups – women and teenage girls – not the high meat consumers who are typically male.

"The new NDNS data shows a disturbing drop in the amount of red meat eaten by women, with teenage girls remaining static at a low level of meat consumption which matches that eaten by 4-10 year old boys.

"As expected, this is having a major consequence on women and girl's iron intakes and risk of deficiency. The NDNS shows that almost half of girls aged 11-18 years and 17% of women have iron intakes which fall below the minimum recommended for health.

MAP concludes that iron deficiency can cause an increased susceptibility to infection and anaemia, as well as dizziness, insomnia, headache, hair loss, brittle nails and more.

"A blanket approach to red meat reduction, favoured by the Eatwell Plate and some charities, could be having a negative impact on the diets and health of women and girls," says Dr Ruxton. "Bluntly, men need to eat a little less red meat but women should eat more."

Are you a red meat eater? Will you be changing your diet? Tweet us at @theladymagazine and let us know why, or not!


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