According to an exclusive poll conducted by Redfield and Wilton Strategies and featured in Newsweek, a majority of Americans not only regularly consume meat but also view it as a healthy choice. The poll, which surveyed 1,500 U.S. voters, showcased that 76% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that eating meat is healthy. Only a small fraction, 5%, disagreed with this notion.
The survey also highlighted the frequency of meat consumption among Americans, with a striking 81% reporting that they eat meat at least once a week. Out of the remaining respondents, 10% stated they consume meat once or twice a month, while only 7% claimed to rarely or never eat meat.
Interestingly, the poll shed light on public perception of lab-grown meat, also known as cultured meat. A majority of 57% expressed hesitation or unwillingness to consume lab-grown meat, while 30% believed it could serve as a viable alternative to conventionally produced meat. However, a significant percentage of respondents, 19%, remained unsure or had no opinion on the matter.
Contrary to claims suggesting a shift towards vegetarian or vegan diets, the Newsweek article highlighted the enduring preference for meat-based diets among Americans. Professor Anna Dilger, a meat science expert at the University of Illinois, contested the notion that a world without livestock would be sustainable or nutritionally adequate. Dilger emphasized the vital role livestock play in meeting nutritional needs and supporting the economic prosperity of various societies.
The Dublin Declaration of Scientists on the Societal Role of Livestock further reinforced the significance of livestock and meat consumption. The declaration underlined their crucial contribution to dietary health, food system sustainability, and economic development worldwide.
Kara Behlke-Ungerman, Vice President of Nutrition, Health, and Wellness Transformation at the National Pork Board, emphasized the nutritional value of a diverse diet that includes meat. She highlighted pork's ability to complement plant-based foods, making it easier to consume an overall balanced and nutritious diet.
The importance of animal-source foods, such as meat, in supplying essential micronutrients and macronutrients for growth and cognitive development was reiterated in an article published in the scientific journal Animal Frontiers. Adegbola Adesogan, Director of the University of Florida's Global Food Systems Institute, stressed the significance of animal-source foods in combating undernutrition, particularly in the Global South.
The evidence presented in the article further questioned the scientific validity of the 2019 Global Burden of Disease Risk Factors Report, which suggested that even minimal red meat consumption poses health risks. Experts like Alice Stanton of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland argued that removing fresh meat and dairy from diets would have negative repercussions, particularly for vulnerable populations such as women, children, the elderly, and those with low incomes.
The Newsweek poll and expert opinions highlight the continued preference for meat consumption among Americans and underscore the nutritional value and societal significance of livestock and meat products.