WASHINGTON –A recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests a consensus exists that diets lower in meat are healthier. However, the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) believes that no such consensus exists and suggests the contrary.
“The notion that global veganism is a nutrition and environmental panacea is flawed at its core and dozens of recent studies bear this out,” said Barry Carpenter, president and CEO, NAMI, in a March 22 statement. “In fact, more than a dozen recent studies detail issues associated with the nutritional inadequacies associated with some vegan diets. Those problems include B12 deficiencies and associated development issues, eating disorders, mood and mental disorders, subclinical protein malnutrition, hyperhomocysteinemia and the increased vulnerability of some vegetarians to cardiovascular diseases.”
Frank Mithloehner Ph.D., of the Univ. of California-Davis, an expert on the environmental impact of livestock production, reviewed the paper and concluded that comparison of the 4.2 percent greenhouse gas (GHG) contribution from livestock to the 27 percent from the transportation, or the 31 percent from the energy sector in the US puts all contributors into perspective. Another recent paper from Dr. David Klurfeld, USDA Agricultural Research Service, points out the benefits of meat in the diet and the risks of diets that exclude meat.
“When all the data on nutrition and environmental impact are reviewed together, a compelling case continues to exist for making meat a part of a healthy balanced diet while continuing to look for ways to raise livestock and produce meat in the most sustainable ways possible,” Carpenter said.