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Sustainability Brief – Meat and Dairy in a Balanced Diet


Meat and dairy in a balanced diet

Dietitian Sarah Keogh recently spoke at the launch of Meat and Dairy Facts about the role of meat and dairy in a healthy, balanced diet.

Let’s take a closer luck at some of Sarah’s key messages.

Meat in the Irish diet

Meat is consumed by 98% of adults and 98% of children in Ireland, providing 41% of protein requirements in diets (figure 1).

Figure 1: % contribution of food groups to protein intake

48% of women in Ireland do not meet iron recommendations from their diets. This figure increases to 79% for teenage girls.  Meat is an important source of iron, providing 18% of the dietary requirements.

Beef and milk are also rich sources of vitamin B12, unlike plant foods which have virtually no B12. Your body needs vitamin B12, in order to create red blood cells and keep the nervous system healthy.

Milk, yoghurt and cheese

Milk, yoghurt and cheese are rich sources of calcium, protein, iodine, vitamin B12 and vitamin B2, providing 39% of calcium requirements in Irish diets (figure 2). These nutrient sources are important, as 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men over 55 years of age, are at risk of factures due to osteoporosis.

Figure 2: % contribution of food groups to calcium intake

Milk & iodine

Milk is the major source of iodine in the Irish diet. High intakes of dairy are linked with better iodine levels. Iodine is required for brain development, during pregnancy. Other sources of iodine may include fish and seaweed.

About Meat and Dairy Facts

Meat and Dairy Facts is an initiative between IFA, Bord Bia, ICMSA, NDC, DII and MII which aims to promote the health benefits and sustainability credentials of meat and dairy in Ireland.

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