National Beef Association
For everyone with an interest in the British beef industry

Beef Nutrition Fact Sheet

5th January 2010

Category: Health Fact Sheets

Facts about Beef and Nutrition

In recent years, beef seems to be the focus of a lot of bad press and many, who claim that consuming red meat can endanger your health, are referring to those individuals, who consume a high proportion of manufactured food products, like pies, which contain a high level of saturated fatty acids as well as processed meats.

It is important to know that there are, in fact, many essential nutritional benefits to keeping beef in your diet. In fact beef is an important and useful part of any well-balanced diet. Many people eat beef because they like it, not because of the added health benefits it has and it is important to understand how beef can help fuel and nourish your body.

Beef can be considered a natural multivitamin because it is an excellent source of protein, zinc, vitamin B12, haem iron, niacin, vitamin B6, and phosphorus. Just an 85 gram or 3 ounce serving of beef can provide over 10% of your required daily value of these nutrients.

Most people today are aware that it is important to have a well-balanced diet in order to obtain all the required vitamins and minerals your body needs to maintain a healthy life.

Beef is the number one source of protein and haem iron; the only iron source readily absorbed by the body, which helps keep you energized and supports many of your body’s daily functions like the brain, hormones, and enzymes. Protein is a part of all of your body tissues like muscles, organs, and even bones and aids the immune system in protecting against disease and infection.

Beef is also the number one source for zinc and B-complex vitamins, which are both essential to good health. Zinc is often overlooked by many health-conscience people, but it is absolutely essential to normal growth and development, the immune system, healing wounds, appetite control, and even taste perception.

Vitamins B12 and B6 are essential in the production of red blood cells and may even play an important role in preventing heart disease and stroke. Riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine are key vitamins in the B-complex which help promote healthy skin, eyes, and vision, as well as helping to effectively use energy from the foods you eat. It is important to know that vitamin B12 is only found in animal food products.

Although you may understand that beef can provide essential nutrients, you may still be concerned about the fat content of red meat that is criticized regularly. In response to many of these concerns, the UK beef industry has responded by producing leaner cuts of beef and British beef is totally free of antibiotics and growth hormones.

However, it is important to note that more than half of the fatty acids found in beef are monounsaturated fats, which are the same fats found in products like olive oil and are considered to be heart-healthy. Additionally, the recommended 85 grams or 3 ounce serving of beef constitutes less than 10% of the calories in the traditional 2,000 calorie (per day) diet.

A typical portion of beef sirloin steak contains 2.4 grams of saturated fat in a total fat content of 6.1 grams. A skinless chicken thigh contains 2.6 grams of saturated fat in a total fat content of 9.2 grams.

If you are considering taking beef out of your diet, you may want to rethink the idea. Take into consideration the essential vitamins and minerals you may be missing out on and the new findings that maintaining a well-balanced diet, which includes beef, may add to your overall health.

Plus, beef may play a positive role in cancer prevention. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a fatty acid found naturally in beef, particularly grass fed UK beef. Recent research indicates CLA may play a role in cancer prevention by inhibiting tumour growth and development and can affect body composition by decreasing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass.

National Beef Association
Open to everyone with an interest in the Beef Industry.
Mart Centre, Tyne Green
Hexham, Northumberland, UK.
NE46 3SG
Tel: 01434 601005
[email protected]