American Meat Institute says 2010 Dietary Guidelines affirm role of meat and poultry in a healthy balanced diet

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Washington, D.C. -- The American Meat Institute (AMI) today said that the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans affirm that meat and poultry products are important components of a balanced, healthy diet.

“It is noteworthy that the government’s previous recommendation that consumers eat five to seven ounces from the meat, poultry and beans group will remain unchanged. This makes sense because the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s documents show that the meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts group is the only group that is consumed in the recommended amount,” said AMI Executive Vice President James H. Hodges, who also serves as president of the American Meat Institute Foundation.

“While some people are under the impression that Americans over-consume meat and poultry products, the most recent nutrition data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) show that on average, men consume 6.9 ounces of meat and poultry per day and women consume 4.4 ounces,” Hodges said. He noted that table 2.2 on page 12 of the Guidelines shows that red and processed meats are not overconsumed.

The Institute also applauded the Guidelines focus on nutrient dense foods – those that offer more nutrition per calorie than others.

“Meat and poultry products are some the most nutrient dense foods available, are excellent sources of complete protein, iron and zinc and maintain an excellent nutrition per calorie ratio. Complete proteins provide all of the essential amino acids necessary for growth and good overall health.”

Meat and poultry products also can be helpful in achieving the healthy body weight that the committee stressed is a key to good health.

“Studies that have published recently also [1] [2]show that meat satisfies hunger longer, making lean meat and poultry part of a balanced diet that helps metabolize food more efficiently and prevent between-meal snacking that can lead to weight gain,” Hodges said.

“These recommendations highlight the long-standing body of science that says in very clear terms that the key to a healthy lifestyle is a balanced diet that includes each of the key food groups, coupled with daily exercise.

“Our industry is committed to nourishing people. Not only do we offer the most affordable meat supply in the world, we also offer the most diverse meat and poultry supply, too. The meat case includes a growing array of lean, low-fat and low-sodium products that help people find products that meet their unique dietary needs – and products they will enjoy,” Hodges said.

Hodges also responded to the Guidelines recommendations to reduce sodium. “An analysis of the top 20 sodium contributing foods consumed by Americans shows that only three of these foods are meat products or food products that contain meat,” he said. “Still, the meat industry is actively responding with efforts to expand its low and reduced sodium offerings in an effort to meet different nutrition needs.”

Hodges also noted that AMI is a member of the MyPyramid Partnership and will continue to voice support for the premise that a well-balanced diet, proper portion sizes and exercise are keys to overall good health and wellness.

“Consumers should heed the Guidelines’ dietary recommendations that they consume five to seven ounces from the meat and beans groups – which is what Americans are consuming, on average, already. They can continue to feel good about meat and poultry’s big nutrition punch – and great taste. ”

To download or view broadcast quality video responses to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, and for a chart depicting the food groups’ recommendations and what Americans are actually eating, visit http://www.meatpoultrynutrition.org/  The site also includes a number of resources related to the Guidelines, including peer-reviewed papers on meat and poultry nutrition and the role that meat and poultry play in satiety and weight control.

AMI experts also are available for interviews by calling 202/587-4245.


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