Professor Robert Pickard, Emeritus Professor of Neurobiology at the University of Cardiff , takes a look at the nation’s understanding of red meat.
We recently conducted some research with 2000 members of the public to ascertain people’s views of red meat and to identify if people are aware of and understand its nutrient make-up. The results were quite surprising and revealed a few misconceptions. Misconceptions that could ultimately leave Britons at risk of health problems.
Perhaps one of the main things the report highlighted was the confusion about nutrients and which foods provide which nutrients. For example, nearly half of those asked thought that spinach was a better source of iron than red meat, which isn’t true. Red meat actually has three times as much iron as spinach and the iron in red meat comes in a far more readily absorbed form than that found in plants.
One in five also thought that green leafy vegetables provide vitamin D and one in ten thought that citrus fruits provide vitamin D, when in fact they contain none. It was encouraging that one in 10 did identify that red meat is a useful source of vitamin D, but this again highlights a lack of overall awareness about where nutrients can be found.
Confirming people’s lack of understanding of red meat is the response that one in five admitted that they felt that they did not know enough about meat to buy at a butcher’s shop. Surprisingly, less than half named pork as a type of red meat and one in five didn’t realise that lamb is also classed as a red meat.However, it is heartening to see that when it comes to our meat-eating habits, two out of three believe red meat is an important part of a healthy diet and almost half reported that they tuck into a red meat meal between one and four times a week.
Everyone wants a balanced, healthy diet and as the report showed, many people know that red meat has an important role to play in this. However, there are still some basic knowledge gaps that need to be addressed so that people have more opportunity to make the most of a healthy diet and enjoy their food.
If you want to learn more about red meat and its nutrients, take a look around our website to find out about its role in our diet