Half of all beef consumed in the US on any given day is consumed by 12% of the population, according to a new study.
The study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrients, aimed to understand the correlation between beef-eaters and different demographic categories, socio-economic and behavioral, in order to provide them with more accessible information on dietary choices.
Beef is one of the most destructive foods for the environment with detrimental effects such as excessive greenhouse gas emissions, with researchers noting that food systems account for one-third of all emissions of which livestock accounts for 14% of all emissions.
Beef in particular creates eight times the emissions than chicken and six times more than pork, with the UN concluding that one of the most cost-effective strategies to reduce emissions is to reduce overall meat consumption.
Where's the beef?
The researchers found that 12.2% of all beef consumers in the US were "disproportionate" meaning they ate more the 4 ounces or 2200 calories of beef per day.
Non-Hispanic Asians were the least likely to disproportionately consume beef at only 8.2% while other/multiracial were the most likely at 14.1%.
Around 11% of people agreed under 50 consumed a disproportionate amount of beef while those aged 50-65 disproportionately consumed beef at a rate of 14.8%, and those over 65 were the least likely at 10.3%.
High School graduates were also the most likely to disproportionately eat beef at 14.4% while college graduates were the least likely at 9.9%.
In terms of daily consumption, 45% of the population ate no beef on any given day, whereas half of all US beef was consumed by 12% of the population.
Men were more likely to eat a disproportionate amount of beef, researchers gave several reasons for this from Western cultural attitudes towards red meat associating it with masculinity, strength, and power, as well as men being more likely to associate red meat with healthiness.
Researchers give several possible ways to reduce red meat consumption, such as promoting smaller portions using meat raised more sustainably (“less, but better”), or smaller portions and eating more vegetables (“less and more varied”), and meatless meals with or without meat substitutes (e.g., Meatless Monday).