Reduce red meat consumption to 4 percent on college menus, as they propose to do in Germany, “they want to get into regulating the winds and waves”, points out Antonio Escribano, endocrinologist professor in Sports Nutrition and director of Nutrition of the Royal Spanish Football Federation. For this specialist, if we were referring to lower ages, that is, to Primary and Secondary school menus, “meat and, in particular, red meat, should be kept as an essential element in the children’s diet because it has, among others, benefits, more than 20% proteins of high biological value ».
Escribano argues that “meat is a very appropriate source of minerals and vitamins in
the field of nutrition and health. Its high protein value, of higher quality than proteins of vegetable origin, makes it a fundamental food for physical activity, inherent in children, in addition to contributing to their muscle development. “Meat is a basic structure of child development, one more brick in the building of their growth”he insists.
The expert endocrinologist explains that “currently there is greater knowledge about the relationship between food and health, but at the same time it is more common to hear opinions or proposals like these that seriously distort scientific concepts on healthy eating and the parameters recommended by scientific societies . We must be aware that Eliminating or significantly limiting the consumption of meat in school menus can affect the development and health of the population, and especially compromise the brain development of children and adolescents», Emphasizes the renowned physician.
Risks of not consuming meat
Among the risks caused in children by not eating meat, it is worth highlighting «the lack of essential amino acids; protein deficiency, which affects the child’s cognitive development; and the lack of essential minerals and vitamins for the functioning of the organism, among other aspects “, specifies the doctor. In addition to the properties described, Dr. Escribano highlights that “meat proteins also have the characteristic of having a high digestibility coefficient and in them are all the essential amino acids that are not generated by the body and that, therefore They can only be provided through diet ».
In the same way, elements of meat such as calcium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus favor the development and functioning of the bones and the nervous system, while the antioxidant effect, thanks to selenium, zinc and vitamin E, «converts to meat is a key factor in avoiding premature aging and helping to maintain healthy senses such as sight and smell “, clarifies the famous nutrition expert. It also highlights all the B vitamins (B1, B6 and B12) and the folic acid that meat has. Together, they are all “important for the functioning of the nervous system”, explains the professor in Nutrition.
Despite being university menus, the doctor is surprised by this German initiative, and insists that «animal protein has been necessary in our species for millions of years and is what has made us the way we are today, so Anything that is reducing it at younger ages supposes playing with that is compromising the future of the children». Obviously, he acknowledges, «Everything has its dose. We are not carnivores, we are not herbivores, but we are omnivores, and the meat has to be there. It should not be the protagonist of our diet, but it does not have to be absent either, it has to be in its proper measure ».
And what is that measure if we talk about school menus? According to the recommendations of Dr. Escribano, moderate meat consumption at any age is essential, but even more so at an early age. As for the frequency with which children should consume it, it should be approximately five servings a week, two of red meat and three of white meat, with a dosage of 80 grams per serving for ages between 8 and 11 years, increasing to 100 grams per serving for over 12 years. In addition, he continues, “the meat has to be in the right proportion with the rest of the food, which must be 60 percent fruits and vegetables. That is, if you have ham for breakfast, you have already covered the quota, do not include it at dinner. It’s not that complicated either, ”he assumes.
Despite the fact that the news refers to the reduction of meat consumption to 4 percent in university menus, in the opinion of Escribano the information published does nothing more than “falsify the livestock industry. Ecologically … what about car smoke? Or the debate on alcohol consumption in young people? For this nutritionist «meat has protein and protein has amino acids that are essential and necessary, regardless of other types of factors that are to be included regarding the ecological, animal abuse, or special sensitivities ”. What has this type of news, Escribano concludes, “is that 4 percent is assumed to be a lesser evil, such as drinking a glass of wine a day. What is meant by this? Make people not eat meat? Create an awareness that the good or the healthy is the one who does not eat meat? This is going to take its toll on the weakest, which are always children, “he concludes.