Over 65s in Ireland told to eat more meat, fish, dairy and eggs

Read Time:   |  23rd April 2021

A new report is urging Ireland's over 65s to eat more meat, fish, dairy and eggs for 'high-quality protein' sources.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has published a new report which tells Irish over 65s to eat more meat, fish, dairy and eggs.

The report claims that this age group needs ‘high-quality protein to stimulate muscle protein’, recommending animal products to achieve this.

This guidance is strange, considering popular meat replacement Quorn protein was found to be equivalent to animal protein for muscle synthesis.

Moreover, there is a magnitude of health benefits associated with eating beans, legumes and pulses, which is practically discouraged in the FSAI report.

In fact, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the largest organisation of nutritional professionals) has deemed plant-based diets appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes’.

Therefore, it is very puzzling that the report would encourage the consumption of meat, fish, dairy and eggs over plant-based proteins.

‘Science-based recommendations’

FSAI Chief Executive Dr Pamela Byrne claimed that the report “sets out a number of science-based recommendations that will underpin national guidelines being prepared by the Department of Health, to support optimal nutritional status and health of older adults in Ireland.”

However, the recommendations seem to go against the science, which identifies meat and dairy heavy diets as detrimental to human health. Cholesterol is only found in animal-based foods, while saturated fat is primarily found in these foods too – both of which contribute to heart disease, the world’s biggest killer.

Moreover, the report claimed that ‘iron and zinc needs are best met through meat intake”. While red meat is high in iron, it is also classed as a group 2 carcinogen and has been shown through numerous scientific studies to be detrimental to health. Additionally, the NHS states that high consumption increases your risk of bowel cancer, which disproportionally affects adults over 60.

Unfortunately, the meat and dairy industries have money and influence and can lobby nutrition boards to encourage the consumption of their products.

While the report does acknowledge key nutrients which older adults may be lacking, the recommendations for acquiring these simply do not follow the science. 

Want to learn more about the health benefits of plant-based proteins?
Read our article On the pulse: The lowdown on the health benefits of pulses.

 

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