Expert points to importance of red meat in diet

Red meat could potentially become a more important source of long chain omega-3 than fish in the next 50 years, politicians have been told.

Speaking to the All Party Parliamentary Group on beef and lamb in Westminster, Cardiff Universitys Professor Robert Pickford said meat from grass-fed cattle and sheep can have up to 10 times more long-chain omega-3 fatty acids than meat from animals reared on non-pasture sources.

More importantly, Prof Pickford, who is also a member of the Meat Advisory Panel, said that red meat was the best source of iron and could become a more vital source of omega-3 than fish, if marine pollution continued to increase.

He told MPs it was important that more emphasis was put on the role played by fresh, lean red meat in the diet, and urged policy-makers to focus on what is natural and necessary when giving advice on diets. He also suggested that the entire chain could benefit from higher prices paid for meat from grass-fed animals.

2,500 million years of evolution tells us that red meat has a vital role in our diet, he said. Red meat has a high concentration of vitamins and minerals, easily absorbed by the body and readily available. Evolutionary science has shown us that eating a little bit of everything and not too much of any one thing is the best way for the body to stay healthy and absorb the nutrients it needs.

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