Red meat is not bad for human health

18 Dec 2019

For many it feels like the bastion of the North East’s farming sector is under an endured attack. Red meat, a dominant product from our local farms, should be banished as the dish of choice if you believe either the BBC’s documentary, Meat, a threat to our planet, or The Game Changers on Netflix.

In the hotly contested red meat debate, one enduring concern is that red meat is damaging to the health, but that’s is not the whole story, according to Professor Alice Stanton who will be giving the Science Lecture at the 2020 Oxford Farming Conference (OFC).

Red meat has been linked to a higher incidence of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, strokes and diabetes mellitus, and also of certain cancers. However not all studies have reported these links.
What should be communicated is that red meat is good for health, so long as it is eaten in moderation, the Cardiovascular Pharmacologist from Ireland’s Royal College of Surgeons.

Where adult populations were subdivided into groups according to how regularly they ate red meat, those who ate moderate sized portions of red meat (120 gram or 4 oz) two to five times weekly, were less likely to die than those that ate large quantities of red meat very regularly, or those that ate meat very rarely if ever.

She describes the protective effects of red meat as likely to be due to its excellent balance of protein, and because of its richness in key micronutrients such as vitamins A, B12, D and K2, various minerals with iron, zinc and selenium being particularly important, and lastly the long chain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA.

Professor Stanton also has a strong understanding of meat production and farming practices and will also touch on the importance of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, including methane, as a crucial part of farming’s red meat future.

In the Lancet Commission’s Planetary Health Diet guidance, launched recently by 37-scientists, stated the health merits of vegetarian and vegan diets.

Prof Stanton says that this kind of dramatic reduction in meat and dairy foods will result in increased nutrient deficiencies and is unlikely to address global warming.

Professor Stanton will speak at the 2020 Oxford Farming Conference, held from 7-9 January 2020. Jane Craigie Marketing coordinates the Conference’s marketing and media relations.

Jane is a Chartered Marketer with over 25 years’ experience in marketing within the agri-food sector. She is a member of the executive board of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists and the council of the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists. Jane is a graduate of the IAgrM and Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programmes, is a Windsor Leadership Alumna and a Waitangi Scholar. Board member for Lantra and a Professional Agriculturalist (P.Agric) and RingLink Scotland. Jane is a Director and co-founder of the Rural Youth Project.