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Meat For Health

( Originally Published Early 1900's )



A merchant in any line of business is supposed to be familiar with the products he sells. A tailor can recognize immediately the quality of clothing material, and the composition of the cloth, whether it is pure wool, cotton or silk. He has methods by which he can determine such facts. The jeweler knows the difference between pure gold and gold plated material. He has learned to recognize the genuineness of the products he handles.

What Is Meat?

The average meat retailer, however, lacks a thorough knowledge of the products he handles. Meat, in the opinion of practically all retailers, is something good to eat. To further analyze meat as to its food value requires a knowledge of chemistry which, of course, cannot be expected of every retailer.

According to Dr. C. R. Moulton of the Institute of American Meat Packers, it is practically impossible to give the average percentage composition of typical beef, mutton, veal and pork.

"A typical piece of beef, veal, mutton, pork, and ham, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 might contain:

Water Protein Fat Ash

No. 1 Beef 57.0% 17.8% 24.6% 0.9%

No. 2 Veal -71.3% 20.2% 8.1% 1.0%

No. 3 Mutton 53.6% 12.2% 29.8% 0.8%

No. 4 Pork 34.4% 9.1% 55.3% 0.5%

No. 5 Ham 50.1% 15.7% 33.4% 0.9%

Value of Meat to Health

There is one important subject, however, with which the meat retailer should be acquainted, and that is the value of the product he sells as it relates to human health.

Since meat is in competition with a great many other food products, advertisements which have appeared in former years have left an impression on the minds of the public that meat has certain disadvantages as a food. The retailer himself is not often in position to answer such attacks intelligently. In recent years the Institute of American Meat Packers has taken up and combated these attacks upon meats and meat products. Through the literature published by the Institute, through advertisements, and the general spread of such information attacks upon meat have practically ceased.

The educational value of the information is of inestimable value to the retailer. In conjunction with other agencies such as the National Livestock and Meat Board, the National Association of Retail Meat Dealers and the Bureau of Agricultural Economics of the United States Department of Agriculture, the Institute of American Meat Packers has distributed pamphlets and books on the value of meat and its importance in our daily diet.

Some of the circulars dealing with this subject are reprinted as follows by permission of the Institute of American Meat Packers and the other agencies, giving the value of meat, and its influences upon out health and upon our daily life.

Nature's Basic Food for Man:

In the long run the most satisfactory diet is the kind to which we are naturally adapted.

What is the natural human diet?

From our earliest knowledge of man, he has eaten a mixed diet of animal and vegetable foods, based upon meat.

Man is by nature adapted to this diet. This is shown by the teeth, stomach, digestive capacities and incapacities, and eliminative organs.

The back teeth, or molars, of animals tell us more about their natural diet than do the incisors. The molars of vegetable feeders are flat on top and are adapted to the grinding of fibrous food, while the molars of carnivorous animals have sharp points for rending flesh. The molars of human beings are intermediate in character.

Human teeth show by their shape that they have been evolved to chew meat and to crush tender vegetable food rather than to grind fibrous roughage.

The human stomach is relatively small, and is adapted to a concentrated ration. It has not the capacity necessary to the handling of a bulky fruit or vegetable diet.

In harmony with these facts, raw vegetable fiber, composed of cellulose, cannot be digested by human beings.

In the liver and kidneys of human beings we see further evidence of capacity to handle concentrated foods. As a result of misinformation, some people have been led to believe that the consumption of concentrated foods is likely to throw an undue burden on these organs. As a matter of fact, the liver has three or four times, and the kidneys at least twice, the eliminative capacity required by the normal mixed diet. Lack of capacity of liver and kidneys is no more to be expected than is lack of capacity of lungs. The usual cause of disease of any of these organs is not overwork, but infection.

We eat, digest, and assimilate meat just as naturally as we sleep at night, and with no injurious strain upon the body or its organs.

Nature, then, intends that man shall eat meat; and Nature's ways are safe ways, because they are the results of perhaps hundreds of thousands of years of practical trial.

There is perhaps no more logical argument in favor of meat than the above statements. More very interesting facts are quoted by Professor James Rollin Slonaker, as follows :

Eat Plenty of Meat—If You Want to Live Long Score one against the vegetarians.

Meat eaters will weigh more, live longer and have more children, according to results of experiments on rats conducted by Professor James Rollin Slonaker of Stanford University. Forty pairs of rats were under continuous observation over a period of eight years. Twenty were controls, fed a normal diet including animal protein. Twenty were fed the same diet with animal protein absent.

The effect on man of enforced restricted diet in many localities during the World War has been studied, and Professor Slonaker's results with rats bear out the experience of humans denied meat.

Professor Slonaker found that :

No meat caused male rats to weigh 35% less than correspondingly normally fed rat males; and females to weigh 28% less. Shortened males' life 33% and females' 40%.

Caused 29% fewer young to be born.

Caused more to die young.

Reduced proportion of males.

The diet given the "restricted" rats corresponded favorably with that of a vegetarian : fish, eggs, potatoes, beans, rice, celery, carrots, cabbage bread, almonds and walnuts.

"Results show," says Professor Slonaker, "those fed on a diet practically restricted to plant sources are able to live and grow. This is proof that sufficiently varied vegetable diet contains essential factors for growth. But when the rate and amount of growth are compared with rats fed the same diet supplemented with protein we found a marked difference favoring the omnivorous eater. This indicates that something is lacking in vegetable food. A restricted diet causes an increase in mortality of the young, and the line of descent of restricted eaters became extinct in the third generation."

Apply this to the human family. The rat is an organism not wholly unlike the human being, and limitations of diet would affect the human being in a similar manner, the professor says. He declares that eating meat is essential to the human race if it wishes to increase its physical activity, its growth, and to enjoy longer life.

In an address by Herman N. Bundesen, Health Commissioner, City of Chicago, he says :*

"People's minds should be disabused of the idea that meats are harmful. This is an idea that has been actively exploited and propagated for some years and of course, has found a great many adherents. In my judgment, there can be no doubt that miny people, in harmony with these ideas, have cut meat out of their diet to their own harm. The leading authorities on foods and their values are agreed as to the high nutritive value of meat. The less fatty meats are rich sources of protein, which is needed for the building of new tissues and the repair of old tissues. In fact, the proteins in meat, milk, and eggs far surpass those contained in vegetables.

"Also, it is pretty well understood that the leaner meats, and edible organs furnish mineral matter which is needed, in quantity above that found in the average article of food. Also, the iron content of meat compares well with such foods as spinach, eggs and dates.

"It is not wise, however, that we should try to live on meats alone. The best rule to regulate our eating habits would provide for a mixed diet of animal and vegetable foods, including a liberal supply of fruits.

"It is known that there are many ways in which meat serves the nutrition requirements of the body, not only in health, but in convalescence, and in some cases of sickness it may be very properly used. Meat also has an especial value for the nourishment of the body. The fats of meats have essentially the same nutritive value as have the fats of vegetable foods. So it would seem that we are not justified in excluding meat from our daily diet."

Bulletins such as reprinted here have a wide circulation and spread a better knowledge of meats among the consuming public. The business of retailing meat has not as yet progressed to such a stage that the meat retailer knows very much about his product, except the quality of it. If customers ask the retailer about the effect of meat on rheumatism, gout, or whether it does not cause kidney disease, he is usually unable to answer such questions logically.

To educate the retailer on the real value of meat and its effect on our health and habits, the National Association of Meat Councils has issued a pamphlet called "The Manual on Food Values," which is of such great educational value to the meat retailer that it is reprinted herewith :*

One of the most important qualifications for a successful retailer in any line is a thorough knowledge of his product. This is why every meat dealer should know all about meat. Not long ago, it was considered sufficient for the dealer to be able to satisfy his customer on price, quality, and service. And while these factors exist today, and have a great influence on the results of the business, nevertheless changes in the methods of marketing other food products in general have brought about a situation that makes it practically necessary for the retailer of meat and his salesman to have a knowledge of the food value of meat.

Food Value Is Emphasized

Manufacturers of other competitive food products have been educating the consumer on the nutritive value of their products as a means of increasing sales. In other words, they have not been content to rely on their product merely as a product to gain favor with the consumer, but have been aggressively educating the consumer on the value of their product as a food.

Evidence of this is seen on every hand. Who is not familiar with the slogan of the raisin industry—"Have You Had Your Iron Today?" of the yeast manufacturer who recommends a cake of yeast a day as a source of vitamins, and as an aid to digestion; of the fruit people "Eat an Apple a Day"; of the bread interests—"Bread is Your Best Food—Eat More of It."

Publicity Changes Food Habits

When you stop to realize that the same class of information concerning many other food products is greeting the consumer every day, through various forms of publicity and advertising, you will get a better idea of the forces that are influencing our habits of diet. It cannot be denied that this sort of publicity has done much to popularize and increase the use of many foods.

Until recent years the meat industry had not started to place the facts about the food value of meat before the public as have these other industries, and consequently the consumption of meat has suffered. The fact that people are more concerned with questions of health today than ever before is just as important a factor in this question as the activities of other food manufacturers. The consumer has learned that certain foods are valuable for certain properties and eats those foods.

Consumer Considers Food Values

Moreover, millions of people are on a diet, because they are too heavy or too thin or don't feel just right. They have learned in a general way which foods they should avoid and which they should eat for their immediate purpose. Consequently they eat foods whose food properties are known to them. When they find out that meat is valuable, because of its high quality protein, its excellent fats, certain vitamins, and valuable minerals, they will eat meats.

In the past, the public has been led to believe that meat con-tributes to and causes certain diseases, such as rheumatism, high blood pressure, kidney trouble, gout, etcetera, and although these charges are not true, the meat industry until recent years, has not properly challenged them or corrected them,. The consumer does not care to eat meat or any other food which he thinks will be detrimental to his health, and these charges naturally have affected meat consumption. The meat industry, through the retailer, must tell the consumer the true facts about the food value of meat as other industries have done with their products, if meat is to hold its own.

Dealer Should Answer Charges

Many times the retail meat dealer is told by a customer that her family has stopped eating meat for some absurd reason or other, either because someone is on a diet, or some member of the family is not feeling well, or someone who should have known better had told them that it is not wise to eat very much meat. The natural thing for the dealer to do would be to explain to the customer how valuable a food meat is and how absurd it is to stop eating meat for such reasons. Unfortunately, in many cases the dealer doesn't take advantage of such opportunities.

It is cases like this which emphasize the importance of a knowledge of food values in selling. The instance mentioned would have been an admirable place for the retail dealer to tell his customer the true facts about meat's food value. But he probably didn't realize that he had a timely opportunity to correct his customer's misinformation.

In addition to telling the customer about the food value of meat, the dealer might well mention the fact that the packer today uses every safeguard known that will insure the delivery of his product in a wholesome, appetizing condition to the dealer. The dealer should emphasize the fact that meat is produced and transported under unusually sanitary conditions and with scrupulous care. These things will all help to create a feeling of confidence in the consumer.

Good Work Can Be Done

These questions and answers are intended to help the retail dealer to get hold of this information. The dealer who under-stands these simple facts about meat's food value is then in a position not only to challenge with authority any statement that is detrimental to meat, but also to make helpful suggestions to his customer concerning the healthfulness of meat, its place in the diet, and its nutritive qualities relative to other foods.

It is not necessary for the dealer to be an authority on nutrition to carry on this work. There are a few important facts about the value of meat which everyone can and should know, and, if these are passed on to the consumer, the results will be gratifying to the dealer.

The questions and answers follow :

What Does Food Do For Us?

Food does two things. It furnishes building and repair material for this fine, living machine known as the human body. It also furnishes energy or fuel to keep the machine running. This machine is much more wonderful than a gasoline engine, for example, and its food is more varied than the gasoline used by the automobile engine. Food not only serves to keep the engine running but serves to build the machine, to repair it as it runs, to lubricate it, and to keep it generally fit.

What Should We Look For In Food?

We should look for food to furnish building material and energy or fuel. The comparison cannot be carried too far or it will lose its force.

What Are Measures of Food Value?

Food must furnish the following things; protein (pronounced pro-tee-in) ; energy in the form of fat, starch, sugar, and protein, mineral matter such as calcium or lime, iron, and phosphorus; vitamins (prononced vi-tam-ins) ; bulk or indigestible material; and it should also have palatability and flavor, or appetite appeal. (Some of the "strangers" mentioned above will be introduced to you later.)

Why Do We Use Meat As Food?

Because meat furnishes certain food materials in a high-quality, appetizing, and comparatively low-priced form.

What Would Happen If We Stopped Eating?

Nothing serious would occur if we ceased to eat—not for a while, at least. One can do without food for shorter or longer periods of time without harm. We then use up material stored in our bodies. Soon we must eat, or grow thin and die. As a rule, it is better to be regular in our eating habits and to fast only on the doctor's advice or when the appetite fails.

What Food Materials Does Meat Furnish?

Meat furnishes quantities of high-quality protein, certain mineral elements in abundance, varying amounts of energy—or heat-yielding material, and some of the vitamins.

What is Protein?

Protein is one of the most important substances present in all living things. Without it, life is impossible, just as it is impossible without water, certain mineral matter, and other more mysterious things.

What Are Some Examples of Protein?

Lean meat is one kind of protein. It contains water also, but most of the solid substance in it is protein. The white of an egg is another kind of protein mixed with water. Cheese is mostly protein of still another kind.

Why Do We Need to Eat Protein?

We need protein in order to grow and be strong and healthy and to repair our body substance that is being worn out and discarded every day. Protein takes part in almost all of the body functions.

Are All Proteins Alike?

No, all proteins are not alike. They not only look different, but are built up of different proportions and varieties of the "building stones" (called amino acids by the chemist) of which all proteins are composed. Some proteins are most complete than others ; that is they are made up of a more complete assortment of these "building stones."

Do We Need to Eat Only Complete Proteins?

No. While it is best always to use some of the complete proteins, one may eat incomplete proteins. One incomplete protein may help out another incomplete protein so that both together will be much better than either one alone, but this is not always the case.

What Are Some Complete Proteins?

Meat, eggs, and milk give complete proteins. So do some other foods. Beans, peas, and cereals such as wheat and corn have less complete proteins. In general, proteins from animal sources are much better than proteins from vegetable sources.

Do Fat Meats Have Protein?

Yes, fat meats contain protein, but the more fat they have the less protein they contain. A clear salt pork contains very little protein but large amounts of energy and heat-yielding fats. Medium fat meats contain about two-thirds as much protein as lean meat, and fatter meats contain about one-half as much as lean meat, or even less when the proportion of fat is very large.

Why Do People Need Fuel or Calories?

We need food to furnish energy or fuel to keep this fine ma-chine of ours operating. It takes energy to live, to walk, to work and to play.

Does Meat Furnish Energy?

Yes, lean meat furnishes modest amounts of energy which we measure by what are called calories (pronounced cal-o-rees). Meats containing some fat are richer sources of this energy and very fat meats, such as bacon and salt pork, are among the richest sources of energy.

Do We Need Fuel to Keep Warm?

Yes, we need fuel to keep our bodies warm since our surroundings ordinarily are colder than our bodies. We are constantly giving off heat and need to replace it.

Does Warm Weather Mean Fewer Calories?

Hot weather may mean the need for fewer calories. Or, to put it the other way, when the temperature around us gets cold enough we need more fuel. Above this temperature (called the critical temperature), our needs for heat are about constant, and are usually supplied by the food needed for repair and for work.

Can Food Serve As a Source of Energy and of Heat?

Yes, most of the food we eat furnishes energy to perform the work we do and at the same time give us enough heat to keep us warm.

Do We Ever Need More Energy-Giving Food in the Summer?

If one lives out of doors and exercises more in the summer, one may need more energy than in the cooler weather when one may live indoors more quietly. The office worker really has about the same need for energy foods all the year round, providing he exercises the same amount.

What Producing Food Determines Our Need for Energy?

The more physical work or exercise we do, the greater our need for energy-producing food. The office worker needs less energy-producing food than the laborer. A woman will usually need less than a man. A growing, active youth will generally need more than a grown person who does not work hard.

Can Meat Protein Furnish Both Repair Material and Fuel?

Yes, meat protein and other proteins can serve for repair material and fuel at the same time. When used as repair material it is replacing a worn-out part of our bodies. The worn-out material is then used for fuel. The result is the same as though the meat protein were being used for both purposes.

What is Mineral Matter?

Mineral matter is sometimes called ash in foods, because it is the material that is left after the food burns up when set on fire. This ash is made up of elements of the mineral kingdom, such as iron, calcium (pronounced cal-ci-um), sodium, and chlorine (pronounced klo-rin).

Why Do We Need Minerals?

We need mineral matter to build good teeth and bones and also to build other parts of our bodies. Every part of us needs certain mineral matter if it is to work properly.

What Minerals Do We Need?

We need calcium and phosphorus (pronounced fos-for-us), for bone especially, iron for red blood, potassium (pronounced po-tas-i-urn), sodium, chlorine, and a number of other minerals.

Does Meat Furnish Mineral Matter? .

Yes, lean meat furnishes mineral matter in amounts greater than the average food. Very fat meats furnish little or no mineral matter. Liver, sweetbreads, and similar edible parts are rich in minerals.

What Important Minerals Do We Get From Meat?

Meat is rather rich in phosphorus needed for bones, for brain, and for all parts of the body. Meat is also one of the common foods richest in iron. It ranks above raisins and dates in this respect and is fully equal to whole eggs, spinach or oatmeal.

Does Meat Have Calcium?

Meat contains but small amounts of calcium. This element is necessary for bones and teeth and also for all parts of the body. It is necessary to rely on other foods for this calcium, or lime, as it is sometimes called. Such foods are milk, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, and other greens, leafy vegetables, and few other foods.



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