New nutritional analysis confirms NZ meat packed with nutrients

The most comprehensive nutritional analysis of New Zealand beef and lamb ever carried out confirms it is densely-packed with nutrients essential for everyday life.

The study, carried out by scientists in the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health at Massey University, analysed 65 nutrients in almost 50 cuts of New Zealand beef and lamb, both raw and cooked.

High quality protein, easily-used iron and zinc and a variety of B vitamins remain the essential parts of red meat’s nutritional make up, but the study revealed some new additions.

“Long chain omega 3 fatty acid levels are higher in meat from animals raised on pasture compared to grain.  These new figures will be of particular interest to our customers overseas, as well as offering Kiwis additional health benefits,” says Professor Roger Purchas from Massey University.  “Our analysis also shows New Zealand beef and lamb contributes in a small way to dietary intakes of vitamin D”.  Worryingly low levels of vitamin D are being seen in Kiwi youngsters, so dietary sources are becoming increasingly important.

The new analysis also confirmed lean red meat as a low fat food, with an average fat content well below 10 percent.  This underlines results of the recent Ministry of Health 2008-9 New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey, showing red meat’s contribution to dietary fat and saturated fat intakes falling to 6.8 percent and 7.3 percent respectively, dispelling the myth it is a main source of both fat types.

“As an industry, we strive to ensure all our nutrition messages are based on robust science, having undergone rigorous scientific scrutiny,” says Scott Champion, chief executive of Beef + Lamb NZ, which funded the research. “This study provides a solid platform from which to inform and educate all of New Zealand’s customers around the world about the goodness of New Zealand beef and lamb.”

Reproduced from Food NZ magazine (April/May 2012).

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