Most consumers don't recognize the nutrition benefits that meat and poultry offer, according to a recent survey conducted online by Harris Poll for the American Meat Institute.
In the poll, 12% of consumers correctly identified meat and poultry as the only natural source of Vitamin B12. Twenty percent said cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower were the natural source of B12 and 13% thought the correct answer was citrus fruit. Neither of these foods contain Vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is relatively common, especially among older people, according to the Harvard Health Blog. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey estimated that 3.2% of adults over age 50 have a seriously low B12 level, and up to 20% may have a borderline deficiency, AMI reports.
Iron, protein recommendations
AMI's survey also showed consumers don't know that the body absorbs more iron from meat and poultry than from other foods. Meat and poultry contain "heme" iron, the most absorbable form, but 52% of consumers incorrectly thought the body absorbed the most iron from spinach, kale and other leafy greens, which are high in iron, but contain the less absorbable "non-heme" form. Only 17% correctly named meat, poultry and fish.
Adequate iron intake is important because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies iron deficiency anemia as the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States, AMI said.
When asked which food groups Americans consume at the recommended levels, one in three (31%) consumers said the protein group. According to USDA, this group, which includes meat, poultry, seafood and beans is the only one consumed in the correct amount. Twenty-two percent answered grains, 21% answered dairy and 20% answered fats, oils and sweets.
Nearly half of consumers – 48% -- said they did not know.
AMI says the findings are similar to research by NPD Group, which found that most consumers agree that protein is necessary in a healthy diet, but three quarters of consumers said they didn't know the recommended daily amount.
In general, men and women need between 46 and 56 grams of protein per day, AMI says.