Just 12% Of Americans Eat Half The Nation’s Beef

Just 12% Of Americans Eat Half The Nation’s Beef

A recent study found that a very low percentage (just 12%) of Americans are responsible for eating most of the beef consumed in the country on any given day. This discovery may help consumer groups and government agencies develop educational messaging about the impacts of beef consumption

The study found that those 12% are most likely men or people between the ages of 50 and 65. These people eat what researchers noted as a disproportionate amount of beef on a daily basis. That is a distinction that differs from the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, suggesting four ounces per day of either meat, poultry, or eggs. Four ounces is a quarter pound patty, if you think about it in the form of a burger patty. That measurement is in line with a 2,200-calorie per day diet.

The Data Behind The Study

The study analyzed data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. That survey kept track of more than 10,000 adults over a 24-hour period. Researchers note that the global food system emits 17 billion tons of greenhouse gases per year, which equates to a third of all planet-warming gases produced by humans. It’s estimated that the beef industry is a heavy contributor to those gases, producing eight to 10 times more emissions than chicken, and over 50 times more than beans.

That makes beef an environmentally extravagant protein. Beef is like a car that gets nine miles per gallon. Every time you rev the engine, you lose $20 worth of gas. The reason that beef was the focus of the study is because of its environmental impact and saturated fat content. Plus, the study’s intention was to inform educational programs about those who eat disproportionate amounts of beef. By honing messaging about the environmental impact of beef, programs can implement changes and educate students about their impact on the environment. 

Reactions To The Study

If only 12% of Americans account for half the country’s beef consumption, you could make plans to help change their eating habits. On the other hand, they may be the group that is most resistant to change. The glass-half-full takeaway may be that the remaining 88% of Americans have information about dietary guidelines, or some knowledge of a food guidance system. Does that mean that dietary guidelines can effect change for eating behaviors? Or does it mean that more people have access to information about health, eating plans, and better foods to eat nowadays? 

The Beef That People Consume

About one-third of the beef consumed came from cuts like brisket or steak. Researchers note that some of the top 10 sources included dishes such as burgers, tacos, meatloaf, spaghetti with meat sauce, and burritos. People who eat a disproportionate amount of beef may be able to alter eating habits if they choose beef-less versions of those foods. For example, choose chicken or fish in place of beef if you get tacos or burritos. You can always go meatless and opt for veggies!

Researchers note that the people below the age of 29 and above age 66 were least likely to eat large amounts of beef. There is hope in the younger generation, then, considering that they will inherit the planet and want to implement positive change. Plus, more and more young people have a deeper interest in diet, how it impacts the environment, and what they can do about it. Grass-fed, grass-finished beef has beneficial nutrients, but poultry, fish, and nuts can have the same nutrients. That just goes to show you that there are many food options out there and being resistant to them won’t benefit the body or the future of the planet. Only time will reveal if people’s beef-eating habits change. Let’s hope they do!

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