Video questions red meat, obesity link

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Adult obesity rates increased in Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio and Utah in 2014.
A new Meat MythCrusher video casts a critical eye on the link between obesity and red meat consumption.

WASHINGTON – In a video released by the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) and the American Meat Science Association (AMSA), Eric Berg, professor and associate head of animal sciences at North Dakota State Univ., questions the link between consumption of red meat and obesity as well as chronic diseases.

While mainstream media often link obesity with red meat consumption, Berg, Ph.D., says that while obesity rates have doubled since the first Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released in 1977, red meat consumption has decreased over the same time frame.

“Consumption trends, particularly the consumption of red meat has gone down,” Berg says in the video. “Ironically this is inversely proportional to the prevalence of obesity and followed closely behind that is the prevalence of chronic diseases such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.”

The video is part of NAMI’s and AMSA’s Meat MythCrusher video series, which features interviews with meat scientists who bust some of the most common myths surrounding meat and poultry production and processing.

Berg explains his research into the relationship between amino acid consumption and obesity has found that incomplete amino acid intake from diets that don’t include complete proteins such as meat are more likely to increase fat deposits throughout the body.

In the video, Berg stresses that “people are cutting out a very high quality protein” by not eating red meat, which he says features “a complete amino acid profile.” People who ate a diet high in whole grains are also not getting the same protein they would by eating read meat.

“If people overconsume on one side, they are getting incomplete amino acids,” Berg said.

While obesity rates continue to rise, Berg wonders if red meat “is guilty by association” with other foods that could be causing this, such as food laden with sugar and refined starches.

In addition to the video release, NAMI and AMSA are offering an updated printed Meat MythCrusher brochure which includes more than 40 meat myths on topics such as animal welfare, antibiotic use, food safety, processing and nutrition. The brochure is available on request by emailing or by downloading from the resources section of

The MeatMythCrusher video series is now in its sixth year. All of the videos and more are available at

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