Thursday, January 21, 2016

Using Beef as a protein source in your diet for the athlete

For those of you who don't know me, my BS is in Animal Science and my MS is in Food Science: Food Safety.  I  focused on pre harvest food safety, as in influencing food borne pathogens from farm to fork, mainly at the farm level.  My thesis project was using cattle diets to reduce acid resistance in pathogens shed from feedlot cattle. Even though I don't work on the field I studied so many years, I do keep an ear out and constantly read papers on food safety, food outbreaks, and food in general.  When I saw that Kansas had a Team Beef that was comprised of athletes spreading the word at races and events about the importance of beef in a health, well rounded diet, I felt like this was the perfect team to be on.  My family eats a variety of foods and proteins but we LOVE our beef.  We support a local farmer and buy a side of beef to stock our freezer, as well as hunt down good deals at the fresh meat counter at our local grocery store.

I know sometimes it is hard to decipher the research that comes out on a sometimes daily basis.  Eat this, don't eat that, this is safe, this isn't.  Buzz words are thrown around like all "natural" and "organic", and "hormone free".  Most consumers don't know what to believe or what to think.  It is hard to navigate these articles and these scientific findings.  There are some pretty established facts about using Beef that can't be denied.  Here are a few of my favorites:

 -A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that participants in the BOLD (Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet) study experienced a 10% decrease in LDL cholesterol from baseline when they ate lean beef daily as part of a heart healthy diet and lifestyle containing less than 7% of calories from saturated fat.

-A 3 oz. serving of lean beef contributes less than 10 percent of calories to a 2,000-calorie diet and it supplies more than 10 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for 10 essential nutrients. On average, a 3 oz. serving of lean beef (about the size of a deck of cards) contains about 150 calories and is an excellent source of six nutrients (protein, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B6 , niacin and selenium) and a good source of four nutrients (phosphorous, choline, iron and riboflavin)

-A substantial body of evidence shows protein can help in maintaining a healthy weight, building muscle and fueling physical activity – all of which play an important role in a healthful lifestyle and disease prevention.

 -Beef is also a natural source of the polyunsaturated fatty acid conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Although the research on CLA is still evolving, evidence suggest this fatty acid may have positive effects on cardiovascular disease, body composition, insulin resistance, immune function and bone health.

"Recipe/photo/information courtesy of The Beef Checkoff"

These are just a few of the amazing facts I learned through my orientation.  I am going to start doing a series of posts on how to use Beef in your daily diet.  I am currently going through a 30 day protein challenge through the Kansas Beef Council and learning lots about protein  and food journaling.  I have also discovered some amazing info graphic sheets about using beef as part of a diet when you are an athlete.  Here is my favorite one:

and this one:

So check them out and learn a lot about beef!!!!  It is my favorite protein source and I can't wait to represent them this spring and summer in my races by wearing my jersey and answering lots of questions!

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