Red meat and the seven ages of man

7 stages of man
Meat has been an important part of the diet since the dawn of mankind but, in recent years, there has been some debate about whether too much meat red meat can raise the risk of health problems.

However, studies would seem to indicate that a balanced approach rather than avoidance is the best option. Globally, it is now well recognised that lean red meat can provide a wide variety of key nutrients in a form that is readily absorbed by the body.

When eaten as part of a healthy balanced diet, lean red meat is an important source of protein and a number of key essential nutrients. Lean red meat can, therefore, help improve the nutritional quality of the diet from weaning to old age.

The body maps available to download (below) have been developed by the Meat Advisory Panel to illustrate how lean red meat can overcome nutrition gaps in the diet at particular life stages.

Infants and pre-school children - diets in this age group are low in vitamin A, vitamin D, iron and zinc

Pre-pubescent children - diets were found to be low in vitamin A, magnesium, iron and zinc. Boys tended to have higher intakes of iron and thiamin than girls

Teenagers - diets are low in many nutrients - including vitamin A, vitamin D, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and potassium

Adults of reproductive age - diets, particularly for females, fall short in magnesium and iron, as well as zinc, selenium and potassium

Pregnancy and lactation - women on average fail to get enough calcium, magnesium, iron, iodine, selenium and potassium and vitamin D

Middle-age and older age - while this group has better quality diets, there are still shortfalls in the intakes of magnesium, zinc and potassium

Older age - data shows that in adults aged over 85, intakes of magnesium, zinc and potassium are below the recommended nutrient intake


Nutrient Beef Veal Pork Lamb Calf Liver
Vitamin A - - - - Rich source
Vitamin B1 - - Rich source - Rich source
Vitamin B3 Rich source Rich source Rich source Rich source Rich source
Vitamin B6 Rich source Rich source Rich source - Rich source
Vitamin B12 Rich source Rich source Rich source Rich source Rich source
Vitamin D Source Source - - -
Iron Source       Rich source
Zinc Rich source Source Source Source Rich source
Selenium Rich source - - Source -
Potassium Source Source Source Source Source

Nutrients found in lean red meat classified as a 'source' or ';rich source' according to EU nutrition and health claims regulations