Editorial Note

The transcript published below is the full text of an interview conducted by TV One Breakfast Show presenter Hayley Holt with Professor Teresa Ann Davis on August 29, 2018. What Television New Zealand didn’t tell their viewers however is that Professor Davis is employed by the meat industry to say these things. WFL understands that a complaint has been lodged regarding this interview and we await further events with interest.

Interviewer: Haley Holt – pictured left
Can you tell us why the protein you get from meat is better than plant based protein?

Professor Teresa Ann Davis
Well it’s important that we consume high quality protein and lean meat and dairy contains that high quality protein that young children need to grow and grow muscle and promote higher heights and it’s also important that we consume high quality protein to maintain muscle mass in adults and to prevent sarcopenia in the elderly.

Protein contains individual amino acids and some of those amino acids we can’t make in our bodies, so we have to consume them.

Plant proteins are missing in some of those essential amino acids that we can’t make, so it’s important that we consume lean meat and dairy that have all those essential amino acids that we need.

Interviewer:
What if someone is choosing not to eat meat for other reasons. Can they get enough protein from a plant-based diet?

Professor Davis
Well you can get a nutritional sound diet from consuming plant food but it’s very difficult to do. Even some dietitians have difficulty in planning out a well-balanced diet eating only plant food. It is possible, but it is difficult.

So if you want to promote growth in children it’s important that they consume milk because there are studies that have shown that children who consume cow’s milk as opposed to a soy beverage have greater height.

And there are a number of studies have shown for example that adults and the elderly who consumed lean meat and high quality meat that they can prevent the loss of muscle mass as they get older.

So, there’s a lot of evidence that would support the need for high quality protein that we can get from lean meat.

Interviewer:
How much do we need to eat. What sort of size should we give in each serving and how many servings per day?

Professor Davis
That’s a very important question. So, there’s a lot of data coming out now from different researchers in different parts of the country and different parts of the world that’s showing that we need about 30 grams of protein in each meal and you know, most people consume just a little bit of protein at breakfast, a little more at lunch and then a little bit more at dinner.

But, you know, it’s important that we balance out our protein throughout the day so that we consume about 30 grams at breakfast, 30 grams at lunch and 30 grams at dinner in order to maximise the synthesis of protein in our muscles.

You can get that 30grams of protein by eating about three ounces of lean meat or 100 about grams of lean meat. If you need about 30 grams of protein you can get that from peanut butter but you could also get it from eating peanut butter but in order to get that you would need to eat about 6 tablespoons of peanut butter and that would give you 600 calories but by eating only 100 grams of meat you would only get 150 calories.

Sometimes there’s a misconception that there are more calories in meat but that’s not necessarily true in lean meat you can actually get fewer calories and that helps balance out your nutrients throughout the day.

Interviewer:
Some people say that we eat too much meat and that eating too much meat is bad for the health of your colon and the health of your heart. What do you say to that?

Professor Davis
Yes … Yes, so that’s a very important question. I think it is important that we eat a variety of foods … ah, and … but there are studies now showing that there really is no relationship between the consumption of red and processed meats and cardiovascular disease.

There was a recent study called a meta analysis putting together over 900 studies and that analysis showed that there is no relationship between cardiovascular disease and eating red meat and really very little relationship between red meat and processed meat consumption and colorectal cancer as well.

Also, we have to be kind of cautious about these associations because when we see associations between nutrition and some health outcome many times there can be compounding factors that really are really driving that association.

Sometimes people who eat lean meat may eat less fibre and less fruit and vegetables and what we’re really trying to say is that we really need to eat a balanced diet that contains lean meat but also contains fruit, vegetables and whole grains.

Two big studies on meat eaters versus vegans

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