Meat, also known as red meat, includes all forms of beef, pork, lamb, veal, goat, and non-bird game (e.g., venison, bison, and elk). Poultry includes all forms of chicken, turkey, duck, geese, guineas, and game birds (e.g., quail and pheasant). Meats and poultry vary in fat content and include both fresh and processed forms. Lean meats and poultry contain less than 10 g of fat, 4.5 g or less of saturated fats, and less than 95 mg of cholesterol per 100 g and per labeled serving size (e.g., 95% lean ground beef, pork tenderloin, and skinless chicken or turkey breast). Processed meats and processed poultry (e.g., sausages, luncheon meats, bacon, and beef jerky) are products preserved by smoking, curing, salting, and/or the addition of chemical preservatives.
Strong evidence from mostly prospective cohort studies but also randomized controlled trials has shown that eating patterns that include lower intake of meats as well as processed meats and processed poultry are associated with reduced risk of CVD in adults. Moderate evidence indicates that these eating patterns are associated with reduced risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer in adults. As described earlier, eating patterns consist of multiple, interacting food components, and the relationships to health exist for the overall eating pattern, not necessarily to an isolated aspect of the diet. Much of this research on eating patterns has grouped together all meats and poultry, regardless of fat content or processing, though some evidence has identified lean meats and lean poultry in healthy eating patterns. In separate analyses, food pattern modeling has demonstrated that lean meats and lean poultry can contribute important nutrients within limits for sodium, calories from saturated fats and added sugars, and total calories when consumed in recommended amounts in healthy eating patterns, such as the Healthy U.S.-Style and Mediterranean-Style Eating Patterns.
The recommendation for the meats, poultry, and eggs subgroup in the Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern at the 2,000-calorie level is 26 ounce-equivalents per week. This is the same as the amount that was in the primary USDA Food Patterns of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. As discussed in Chapter 2, average intakes of meats, poultry, and eggs for teen boys and adult men are above recommendations in the Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern. For those who eat animal products, the recommendation for the protein foods subgroup of meats, poultry, and eggs can be met by consuming a variety of lean meats, lean poultry, and eggs. Choices within these eating patterns may include processed meats and processed poultry as long as the resulting eating pattern is within limits for sodium, calories from saturated fats and added sugars, and total calories.
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