May Beef Month Fun Facts

Beef, as part of a balanced diet and provides ZIP.  Zinc is involved in energy metabolism during exercise and plays a role in muscle recovery. Iron helps send oxygen to muscles and is required for energy metabolism. Protein is necessary to repair body tissue and, along with zinc, aids in muscle recovery after exercise. 


 Cutting through the Stats for the Important Facts 

During the past four decades, changes in cattle breeding and management along with trimming practices of processors, retailers and foodservice operators resulted in an estimated 44% reduction in available total fat (from 13% to 7%) and a 29% reduction in saturated fat per capita (from 13% to 9%) contributed by beef, as calculated from food disappearance data. 1

  • Today, more than 65% of beef cuts sold at retail meet government standards for lean, and 17 of the top 25 most popular cuts sold at retail are lean. Among those cuts are perennially popular and widely consumed beef products like Sirloin Steak and Tenderloin. 2
  • Since the 1980 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were issued, external fat on retail beef cuts has decreased by 81%. 3
  • The total fat content for a completely trimmed Sirloin Steak declined 34% from 1963 to 2010, and the saturated fat content declined 17% between 1990 and 2010. 3
  • Results from gold-standard, randomized controlled trials including the Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) study revealed that eating 3-5 ounces (cooked) lean beef per day can be part of a heart-healthy diet. For example, BOLD demonstrated such a diet can lower total and LDL cholesterol levels by 10% and improve other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. 4, 5, 6
  • Retail data shows that sales of 90%-100% lean ground beef increased by 25% between 2008 and 2013. 2

1 Hiza, HAB & Bente, L (2007). Nutrient content of the U.S. Food supply, 1909–2004: A summary report. (Home Economics research report No. 57). U.S. Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
2 FreshLook Marketing Data, 52 weeks ending 9/29/2013.
3 McNeill, SH, et al. The evolution of lean beef: identifying lean beef in today’s U.S. marketplace. Meat Science. 2011:90: 1-8.
4 Maki, KC, et al. A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials that compare the lipid effects of beef versus poultry and/or fish consumption. J of Clin Lip. 2012: Jul-Aug;6(4):352-61.

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