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Why Blame Meat?

A Good farm economy apparently attracts plenty of critics. A recent article in the New York Times, called “Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler,” takes jabs at our country's consumption of meat. It blames meat for most of our health and environmental problems. One “expert” is quoted saying, “When you look at environmental problems in the U.S., nearly all of them have their source in food production and in particular meat consumption.” Wow. What a statement.

The article also takes Americans to task for eating 8 oz. of meat a day. Apparently, these 8 oz. have caused a myriad of health problems for Americans.

I realize I'm talking to the choir here, but those 8 oz. of meat are probably some of the most nutritious food an American will eat in a day. The calorie count on 8 oz. of lean meat is between 300 and 500 calories. (In contrast, just one blueberry muffin, without butter, can be 400 calories.) USDA reports that the average American consumes about 2,700 calories a day, so meat accounts for less than 20% of total calories.

Some diet programs such as Weight Watchers actually promote daily consumption of lean mean. The programs claim people need the protein and a little fat to help with weight loss.

It's time for the American farmer to counter some of the extreme claims against meat. The online blog for the New York Times article featured comments from only those readers who supported the article's claims. Growers and ranchers need to start blogging back and calling these authors to offer the other side of this debate.

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