The American Heart Association (AHA) has partnered with the Beef Board, the USDA-managed program that markets beef, to put the association’s HeartCheck symbol on three cuts of lean beef. The AHA label is meant to help consumers identify foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
According to a registered dietitian with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, “Lean beef helps Americans build a healthy diet and manage their waistline because one three-ounce serving provides 10 essential nutrients for about 154 calories, helping you meet the new Dietary Guidelines.”
Despite the AHA’s approval of lean beef, just because a food is low in saturated fat and cholesterol does not make it healthy.
Industrial beef is arguably one of the worst foods you can eat from a health perspective (let alone an environmental or ethical perspective). The approved cuts of beef come from cows that consumed a diet of corn, various industrial waste products, antibiotics, and hormones.
Beef from corn-fed cows has more harmful omega-6 fatty acids than pasture-raised beef, as well as lower levels of vitamins and antioxidants. Industrial practices also mean that the meat is more likely to be contaminated with deadly bacteria such as E. coli.
What’s more, factory farming renders beef so cheap that people eat much more of it than they should. The average American now consumes two hundred pounds of meat a year, and several studies suggest that the more meat there is in your diet, the greater your risk of heart disease.
Marion Nestle, a New York University nutritionist and author of Food Politics, writes on her blog,
Today’s quiz: How much money is the Beef Board paying the AHA to use its CheckMark logo?
I hope it’s a lot more than what the AHA gets (or used to get) for putting its check mark on sugary cereals. This was $4,500 per product when I updated Food Politics in 2007. After all, sugary cereals don’t have any saturated fat or cholesterol so they must be heart healthy, no?
What do you think about this new partnership between the AHA and the Beef Board?
Image courtesy of www.beefretail.org.