Baby and You


Women moving away from eating red meat put their health at risk, say experts.

The National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS), the Government’s ‘bible’ of eating habits in the UK, has revealed a significant drop in women’s red meat consumption from 58 grams a day between 2008 and 2010, to just 47 grams today. Men, in contrast, have not changed their meat eating habits.

Red meat is vital for a healthy, balanced diet as it is an important contributor to intakes of iron, zinc, selenium, iodine, vitamin D, B vitamins and protein. These are nutrients which are often lacking in the diets of some population groups, particularly teenagers, young children, women and elderly people.

Overall, adults now eat an average of 65 grams of red and processed meat daily, well within the recommended maximum of 70 grams.


Dr Carrie Ruxton, Meat Advisory Panel

Dr Carrie Ruxton, a dietitian on the Meat Advisory Panel (MAP), a group of experts who provide independent and objective information about red meat and its role as part of a healthy, balanced diet, said:

“The NDNS shows that almost half of girls aged 11 to 18 years, and 17% of women, have iron intakes which fall below the minimum recommended for health. The average woman now eats the equivalent of just over two rashers of bacon a day, while men eat the equivalent of nearly four rashers daily.

“Public Health England, which published the NDNS report, noted that there is continued evidence of anaemia and of low iron stores, especially among females aged 11 to 18 years and women aged 19 to 64 years.

“A blanket approach to red meat reduction could be having a negative impact on the diets and health of women and girls. Bluntly, men need to eat a little less red meat but many women should eat more.”


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