Butchers steak a claim for good health:

butchers team up with dietitians to dispel myths about red meat

A group of butchers have become so fed up with the myths surrounding red meat they’ve invited dietitians into their shops to talk to customers and put the record straight in a unique scheme being piloted in six UK regions this week.

From today customers in selected butchers shops across the country will be able to quiz dietitians and nutritionists about the nutritional properties of red meat.

The "Counter Intelligence" pilot scheme, which could roll out nationally if successful, was devised by butchers wanting to dispel the myths about red meat. While millions of people in the UK enjoy red meat for many consumers perception lags behind the reality in terms of the health benefits.

Lean red meat can help play an important role in maintaining a healthy weight. It has a high protein content so it fills you up for longer, meaning you are less likely to snack on fatty and sugary foods in between meals. Contrary to popular opinion, around half the fat in lean meat is 'heart healthy' mono-unsaturated fat, which is known to protect against coronary heart disease.

Red meat is also a rich source of iron. With iron deficiency now one of the most commonly occurring nutrient deficiencies in the UK, particularly amongst women aged between19-34, red meat meals can provide a valuable supply of this essential mineral.

Chris Godfrey, of Frank Godfrey butchers in Islington London, said "We feel strongly that not enough people are aware of all the great things red meat offers - vitamins, minerals, protein, low fat content and more. We want to counter the bad press that red meat has had over the past few years and reassure our customers that it’s good for you. In fact, due to advances in breeding and butchery techniques, red meat contains much less fat than most people think. Pork, beef and lamb today contain less than ten per cent fat, compared to at least 25 per cent in the 1970s."

Johanna Hignett, a nutritionist from London, agreed. "Red meat has a high nutrient density, meaning it contains a large number of nutrients in a relatively small amount of food. It’s one of the best sources of iron in the diet, essential for healthy blood, for keeping energy levels up as well as helping to keep your immune defences healthy. Contrary to what most people think, lean red meat is great for those who are trying to keep off the pounds and it’s a fantastic source of protein."

Chris Lamb of MeatMATTERS.com, supporting the activity, said "We think this is a fantastic initiative to spread the good news that lean red meat really is good for you and we needn't feel guilty about enjoying it. We wish the butchers and dietitians getting involved every success."