Samples Agriculture Beef Consumption in the United States

Beef Consumption in the United States

639 words 3 page(s)

As one of the main staples in the American diet, beef has continuously served as an important commodity in the United States. My specific reasons for choosing beef as the focus of my research include the following: my family consumes a large amount of beef and I live in an agricultural area where beef is produced. My grandfather was a butcher for many years as well. Currently I am an animal science major with a meat science emphasis, and this topic of special interest for future career options in animal science studies.

In the average American diet where meat products have a primary position of importance in meal planning for the family, beef consumption may consist of over 15% of a person’s daily energy intake, 40% of the daily protein intake, and 20% of the daily fat intake (Daniel, Cross, Koebnick, & Sinha, 2011, p. 576), depending on economic and cultural factors. As a family’s income increases, the affordability of buying beef rises and the amount of beef which is included in the weekly nutritional plan will also increase. Beef is an excellent source of high nutritional value, and is generally accepted as a safe, government-regulated commodity for most cultures.

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In addition, the popularity of hamburgers in the United States has contributed significantly to the continuous rise of beef sales, while cereals and other plant foods have grown less popular over the years (Daniel, Cross, Koebnick, & Sinha, 2011, p. 576). Per capita consumption of beef continues to rise in the U.S. and throughout the developed world. Although there has also been a rise in the consumption of poultry, red meat is actually consumed at three times the world average in the United States and represents the highest proportion at 58%. These figures vary according to education, race, age, and gender (Daniel, Cross, Koebnick, & Sinha, 2011, p. 578). While there are concerns that beef may be a contributing factor in some diseases, beef has been a staple in the American diet for many generations and there is still conflicting evidence about its role in these conditions.

For example, in a recent cohort study of U.S. adults over a period of 4 years, other significant risk factors such as smoking, high BMI levels, and a general lower quality diet overall, beef intake was found to be only one factor that contributed to the onset of Type-2 diabetes (Pan, Sun, et al., 2013, p. 1332). Researchers have yet to fully establish this correlation, and the ways in which beef is prepared can minimize fat content as well. As a rich source of important nutrients including high levels of vitamins, iron, and protein, beef in normal quantities has a valuable place in the American diet for children and adults alike. Meat production in America has also addressed these concerns seriously by providing U.S. consumers with leaner cuts of beef and trimming the fat for healthier outcomes. A well-balanced nutritional plan for most people will benefit considerably by including beef regularly in the diet as a main source of protein, in addition to eating a variety of vegetables, fruits, and other low-fat foods.
“Americans’ meat consumption helps fulfill the daily recommended dietary intake of protein, and beef is rich in vitamin B12, iron, and zinc” (Davis, 2005, p. 2). These important nutrients are essential in providing people with sufficient energy and stamina to maintain good health.

A main area of concern for government statistics is in analyzing “U.S. beef consumption by cut from a demographic perspective” (Davis, 2005, p. 2). Although hamburgers are an American staple throughout all incomes and ethnicities, the more expensive cuts of beef are generally available only to the high-income brackets. This trend has grown in the past few years, pointing to the need for U.S. beef producers to lower prices and increase production. These efforts will insure that beef maintains its position as a primary commodity in the American culture.

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