Red meat and the seven ages of man   

Red meat has been an important part of the diet of since the dawn of mankind but, in recent years, there has been some debate about whether too much red meat can raise the risk of health problems.

However, studies would seem to indicate that a balanced approach rather than avoidance is the best option. Globally, it is now well recognised that lean red meat provides vitamins and minerals that contribute towards good health and wellbeing.

Many people in the UK, at different life stages, have inadequate intakes of essential vitamins and minerals in their diet and this has potential health consequences.

When eaten as part of a healthy balanced diet, lean red meat is an important source of protein and a number of essential nutrients. Lean red meat can, therefore, help to improve the nutritional quality of the diet from weaning through to old age.

NutrientBeefVealPorkLambCalf Liver
Vitamin A - - - - Rich source
Vitamin B1 - - Rich source - Source
Vitamin B3 Rich source Rich source Rich source Rich source Rich source
Vitamin B6 Rich source Rich source Rich source Source Rich source
Vitamin B12 Rich source Rich source Rich source Rich source Rich source
Vitamin D - Source - - -
Iron Source       Rich source
Zinc Rich source Rich source Source Source Rich source
Selenium - - Source - -
Potassium Source Source Source Source Source

Nutrients found in lean red meat classified as a 'source' or 'rich source' according to EU nutrition and health claims regulations

The body maps available to download below have been devised by the Meat Advisory Panel to illustrate how lean red meat can help to overcome nutrition gaps in the diet at particular stages in life.

 Infants and pre-school children - diets in this age group are low in vitamin A, vitamin D, iron and zinc.

Pre-pubescent children - diets were found to be low in vitamin A, magnesium, iron and zinc. Boys tended to have higher intakes of iron and thiamin than girls.

Teenagers - diets are low in many key nutrients - including vitamin A, vitamin D, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and potassium.

Adults of reproductive age - diets, particularly for females, fall short in magnesium and iron, as well as zinc, selenium and potassium

Pregnancy and lactation - women on average fail to get enough calcium, magnesium, iron, iodine, selenium, potassium and vitamin D.

Middle age (50years and above) - while this group has better quality diets, there are still shortfalls in intakes of magnesium, zinc and potassium.

Older age (75 years and beyond) - data shows that in adults aged over 85, intakes of magnesium, zinc and potassium are below the recommended nutrient intake.