Don’t let the headlines fool you… you NEED these key dietary components for optimum health
It’s truly disheartening how poorly many of us eat.
Take America, for instance. There’s a reason why the Standard American Diet is abbreviated as SAD.
And young females, in particular, are actually one of the most malnourished segments of the global population. (Though, in my view, the same can be said for our vulnerable seniors.)
In fact, research shows that girls ages 11 to 18 often don’t get enough key nutrients, including vitamins and minerals.
Why? Many simply don’t eat enough. They also tend to be more susceptible to pressure from their peers to follow unbalanced, fad diets. (I’ll tell you more about that in a moment.)
But the truth is, both women and men—of any age—can have nutrient imbalances for any number of reasons.
And I recently came across new research that illuminated a key driving factor behind this problem.
I call it: “Malnutrition due to misinformation.”
Specifically, misinformation about the importance of key dietary components. Components that should ALWAYS be part of a healthy, balanced diet in order to achieve optimum health, no matter what the headlines read.
Let’s take a closer look…
The effects of poor nutrition
For those of you with young granddaughters especially, pay close attention to the following statistics. Because this “misinformation campaign” starts at a much younger age than you may realize.
According to Ian Givens, a professor of food and nutrition at Reading University and director of the U.K. Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health, a whopping 50 percent of British females between the ages of 11 and 18 consume less than the minimum recommended levels of dietary iron and magnesium.1
Another 25 percent of these girls get too little dietary calcium, iodine, and zinc.
Dr. Givens said these young women may be more susceptible to (false) messages about how meat and dairy products are “bad” for the environment.
As a result, those who are still growing and maturing are becoming vegetarian or vegan—and quite frankly, it’s having serious health consequences.
In fact, the teenage years are crucial for bone development. And, of course, magnesium and calcium are both critical in that process. (For more about the health benefits of magnesium, see page 5.)
So, girls who don’t get those nutrients from animal proteins are susceptible to bone health issues throughout their entire lives—and especially after they reach menopause.
Of course, men can also face health consequences due to poor dietary choices as they age. That’s why men and women, from young to old, should heed my next warning as well. Because seniors are being misled by misinformation, too…
Animal protein is essential for health
A recent study, called InCHIANTI, involved just over 1,100 men and women, with an average age of 75 years, living in Tuscany, Italy.
Researchers followed the participants for 20 years and assessed their clinical and dietary information a total of five times.2
This included analyzing how much protein they ate from either plant or animal sources. Then, statistical models assessed the association between protein intake and mortality.
During the follow-up period, there were 811 deaths, including 292 cardiovascular cases and 151 cancer cases.
The good news? Results showed that the subjects who ate more animal protein—which includes meat and dairy—had lower all-cause mortality rates. They also had lower rates of dying from cardiovascular disease.
Meanwhile, people who ate more plant protein didn’t have improved mortality outcomes. Which isn’t at all surprising.
For one thing, animal products (like meat, fish, dairy, and eggs) are sources of complete protein. Meaning they contain all of the amino acids that our bodies need, yet can’t produce on their own.
Plant proteins, on the other hand, are incomplete proteins. Meaning they lack some of those key amino acids, which can affect the function of every cell in your body (and could even leave you malnourished in the long run).
Other benefits to animal protein
Animal proteins also contain essential nutrients that aren’t found in plant proteins.
Beef, for instance, is a key source of B vitamins. That’s a big reason why vegetarians and vegans are advised to supplement with vitamin B—because they’re simply not getting it from their diet.
Beef is also rich in iron (which should only come from your diet, not supplements), magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc.
Dairy is a good source of these vitamins and minerals as well. Plus, it’s a key source of calcium (which, like iron, should only come from your diet, not supplememts).
Of course, plant sources like nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and leafy greens contain key nutrients, too. That’s why I recommend you eat both kinds of foods for optimum health.
But there is one caveat: You must consume both types of proteins in their natural forms. In other words, steer clear of fake meats (and other overly processed, “Frankenfoods”)…
A disturbing willingness to eat “fake meat”
In a survey conducted in December 2021 by the U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA), more than one-third of the respondents said they’d be willing to try meat produced in a laboratory—even though the science is lacking.3
The survey involved 1,930 adults. And for those who said they were unwilling to try lab-grown “meat,” 27 percent said they could be persuaded if they knew it was safe to eat. Another 23 percent said they might eat it if they could trust it was properly regulated.
Meanwhile, about 60 percent of respondents were willing to add plant-based proteins to their diets—but there was still a big, overarching preference for traditional meats.
The FSA said these findings indicate how important the safe and proper regulation of food is to consumers. But I have another perspective…
Food innovation without food science
The problem is that some of these fake and ultra-processed “meats” stretch the boundaries, dimensions, and knowledge of food science.
And yet, the fake meat advocates push for what they call “food innovation,” with the mantra of benefitting health, the environment, and the economy.
(Even though the carbon footprint is HUGE for putting together multiple artificial, processed ingredients to make fake meats. How is that improving the environment… or the economy?)
Worse yet, the development of fake meat is being done without real science. Hurtling into the unknown—after eons of human experience eating REAL foods. (Although, you’d never know by reading the headlines, which often scapegoat natural food sources, like meat.)
And now, there’s another approach to artificial meat production that also appears fraught with peril.
It’s known as “cell-cultured meat,” and here’s why I’m concerned…
Just say “no” to stem-cell steaks
Basically, cell-cultured meat is created from stem cells grown from the muscle, fat, and connective tissues of real meat.
The idea is to create “fake meat” that’s supposedly better for human health and the health of the planet.
Fortunately, this “meat” hasn’t made it out of the lab and into the grocery store. But even if the promised technology isn’t currently available to consumers, it likely will be in the future.
And that’s frightening.
For one, in the cell-cultured meat “culture,” the business leaders often aren’t scientists… or nutritionists.
That makes me wonder: If the lab runs into any problems developing cell-cultured meat, will those CEOs even listen? Or will they simply plow ahead?
(Even worse, are the CEOs hiring scientists who even know what they’re doing?!)
Plus, there are reports of at least one cell-cultured meat company raising hundreds of millions of dollars from investors.
But will that influence the science behind the “product?” Will these investors overlook what really should matter—the truth of the science and the impact on human health ? Or will they solely be focused on return on investment? (I have my guess!)
Of course, there’s also a problem with the actual contents of this cell-cultured “meat.”
Some companies are using the old trick of claiming ingredient “trade secrets.” For instance, when asked about their growth medium for culturing cells (how they’re able to grow meat cells in test tubes), they reply, “it’s proprietary.”
But when it comes to our food, diet, and dietary supplements, consumers have a right and expectation of transparency—to know exactly what they’re consuming, and that it’s safe and properly regulated.
After all, isn’t that what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) required good manufacturing processes are all about?
That’s why I suggest leaving the cultured cells, petri dishes, and test tubes to grow germs and microbes—not fake meat.
Because the raw truth is… NONE of this is necessary when you have adequate REAL, healthful meat available.
The only message you really need
The bottom line is that eating a balanced diet of whole, natural foods is best for your health. That includes adequate amounts of REAL meat, dairy, and other animal proteins—as well as REAL, fresh plant proteins.
Otherwise, you may suffer from malnutrition due to misinformation. Especially when it comes to the importance of animal proteins in the diet.
So, the next time you encounter an anti-meat or fake-meat aficionado, I suggest you replace their misguided messages with an old advertising slogan…
“Where’s the beef” (and dairy) when it comes to healthy diets?
Then, as always, strive to follow a Mediterranean-type diet. This includes grass-fed and -finished meat, wild-caught fish and seafood, full-fat dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, beans (legumes), olive oil, and even wine (in moderation).
Even better, teach your grandchildren to do the same, starting at a young age. As a result, your health—and their health—will soar, rather than be inhibited, for years to come.
2 “Animal Protein Intake Is Inversely Associated With Mortality in Older Adults: The InCHIANTI Study.” The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 2021; glab334.