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Statement in Response to 'Analysis and Valuation of the Health and Climate Change Cobenefits of Dietary Change'

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Attribute Statement to Barry Carpenter, President and CEO, North American Meat Institute

“The notion that global veganism is a nutrition and environmental panacea is flawed at its core and dozens of recent studies bear this out.

The authors of the recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggest that somehow consensus exists that a diet lower in meat is healthier but we think no such consensus exists. In fact, recent research points to the many health benefits of a balanced diet that includes meat in ensuring brain development in children, maintaining brain function later in life, preventing sarcopenia and anemia, and providing a sense of “satiety” or satisfaction, which helps prevent obesity.

Many papers, such as a recent summary by Dr. David Klurfeld, emphasize the benefits of meat in the diet and the risks associated with a diet that excludes meat. In fact, more than a dozen recent studies detail issues associated with the nutritional inadequacies associated with some vegan diets. Those problems include B12 deficiencies and associated development issues, eating disorders, mood and mental disorders, subclinical protein malnutrition, hyperhomocysteinemia and the increased vulnerability of some vegetarians to cardiovascular diseases. (References are included below).

In addition, one of the world’s experts on the environmental impact of livestock production, Dr. Frank Mithloehner of the University of California Davis reviewed the paper and concluded, “Comparing the 4.2% GHG contribution from livestock to the 27% from the transportation sector, or the 31% from the energy sector in the United States, puts all contributors into perspective.”

When all the data on nutrition and environmental impact are reviewed together, a compelling case continues to exist for making meat a part of a healthy balanced diet while continuing to look for ways to raise livestock and produce meat in the most sustainable ways possible.”

For additional perspective on this issue, see this timely blog from Dr. Jude Capper.

Nutritional Inadequacies of Vegetarian and Vegan Diets:

Neonatal Vitamin B12 Deficiency Secondary to Maternal Subclinical Pernicious Anemia: Identification by Expanded Newborn Screening , Journal of Pediatrics, 2008

Vitamin B12 deficiency in infancy as a cause of developmental regression , Brain and Development, 2005

Severe Vitamin B12 Deficiency in an Infant Associated With a Maternal Deficiency and a Strict Vegetarian Diet , Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, 2004

Vegetarian diets and children , Journal of the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, 2004

Increased prevalence of vegetarianism among women with eating pathology , Eating Behaviors, 2015

Vegetarian diets and bone status, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2014

Maternal vegetarianism and neurodevelopment of children enrolled in The Danish National Birth Cohort, Acta Pediatrica, 2014

The Association between Eating Behavior and Various Health Parameters: A Matched Sample Study, PloS One, 2014

Delirium as a result of vitamin B12 deficiency in a vegetarian female patient , European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2013

The Inter-Relationships between Vegetarianism and Eating Disorders among Females,Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2012

Vegetarianism produces subclinical malnutrition, hyperhomocysteinemia and atherogenesis , Nutrition, 2011

Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2009.

Vegetarian diets in children and adolescents. Canadian Pediatric Society, 2010

Serum vitamin B12 and blood cell values in vegetarians, Annals of Nutrition Metabolism, 1982

Benefits of Meat In the Diet:

Inclusion of red meat in healthful dietary patterns , Meat Science, 2014

Vitamins and cognitive development and performance: Nutritional determinants of cognitive aging and dementia, Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 2012

Meat Nutritional Composition and Nutritive Role in the Diet, Meat Science, 2012

Nutrient contribution of total and lean beef in diets of US children and adolescents: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004. , Meat Science, 2011

Meat as a component of a healthy diet – are there any risks or benefits if meat is avoided in the diet? , Meat Science, 2004

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