Results from ground-breaking New Zealand research have shown red meat is a better source of protein than a processed plant-based alternative.
The Pasture Raised Advantage project is exploring the health and wellbeing benefits of eating pasture-raised beef and lamb as part of a balanced diet, compared to grain-finished beef or a plant-based alternative.
The research, funded by Meat Industry Association of New Zealand Innovation Ltd, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, is a collaboration between researchers at AgResearch, the University of Auckland, Massey University and the Riddet Institute.
In clinical trials, thirty participants aged 20-34 years were fed breakfast on four different days and their blood, digestive symptoms and mood were monitored for four hours immediately following the meal.
Breakfast was a burrito that contained a single serving of a different protein each day; pasture-raised beef, grain-finished beef, lamb and a plant-based alternative - served in random order to each participant across the four days.
Researchers measured the nutrients in the blood of the participants and saw a significant difference in the type and amounts of amino acids that come from the digestion of the protein of red meat compared to the protein of the processed meat alternative. Amino acids from red meat were of greater biological value and better absorbed by the body.
A second clinical trial is looking at the longer-term impacts of eating a diet that includes moderate amounts of red meat.
You can read more about the Pasture Raised Advantage research programme at: www.mia.co.nz/nutrition/research/the-pasture-raised-advantage-nutrition-study/