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Association of Lunch Meat Consumption and Diet Quality in US

24 April 2015

Lunch meat can be incorporated into healthy dietary patterns, because it does not adversely affect the overall quality of the diet.

A study, published in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biologyassesses, found that, while lunch meat consumers had significantly higher intakes of calories and energy-adjusted daily intakes of protein, saturated fatty acids, calcium, potassium and sodium compared to non-consumers, there was no difference in dietary quality between lunch meat consumers and non-consumers.

The study supported by the North American Meat Institute looked at the effects of lunch meat consumption on nutrient intake and diet quality in children and adults based on data collected from a large, nationally representative sample.

The researchers from Nutrition Nutrition Impact, LLC, Nutrition NutriScience LLC and the Animal Sciences North Dakota State University in the US investigated the association of lunch meat consumption with diet quality as defined in the Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI).

The team of Victor Fulgoni III, Sanjiv Agarwal and Eric Berg examined the diet of more than 5,000 children aged two to 18 and 10,216 adults over the age of 19 using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2007-2010.

A total of 920 children and 1,833 adult lunch meat consumers were defined as those consuming any amount of 39 lunch meat food codes during the 24 hour recall.

ANOVA was performed and adjusted means ± standard errors determined (covariates: age, gender ethnicity, poverty income ratio, physical activity level, smoking status, and alcohol intake) using sample weights setting p<0.01 as significant.

There study found that there was no difference in total HEI comparing lunch meat consumers and non-consumers in children (45.7 ± 0.6 vs. 46.0 ± 0.4) or adults (48.8 ± 0.5 vs. 49.4 ± 0.4).

In children, the HEI subcomponents scores for total fruit (0.3), whole fruit (0.4), whole grains (0.6), dairy (0.6), and total protein foods (0.7) were higher in lunch meat consumers while subcomponent scores for seafood and plant protein (-0.4), fatty acid ratio (-0.7) and sodium (-2.0) were lower than non-consumers.

In adults, the subcomponents scores for total fruit (0.2), whole grains (0.7), dairy (0.8), and total protein foods (0.4) were higher in lunch meat consumers while subcomponent scores for greens and beans (-0.2), seafood and plant protein (-0.4), fatty acid ratio (-0.6) and sodium (-1.8) were lower than non-consumers.

The research showed that while total HEI scores were not different among consumers and non-consumers of lunch meat, the changes in subcomponent scores may provide information for improved incorporation of lunch meats in diets of US children and adults.

April 2015

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