The UK's obesity crisis is making politicians and consumers alike focus more on the food we eat. The government is introducing a number of very welcome measures to make the nation healthier, such as the newly published food standards for schools. But it's everyone's responsibility to ensure we make the right food choices for ourselves and our children, not just politicians. And the good news is that it's not all doom and gloom.
New research by Populus has revealed that almost 70% of people buy and consume more poultry than any other meat. The study, commissioned by the British Poultry Council (BPC) ahead of Food Safety Week (16 to 22 June), shows poultry (Chicken, Duck, Goose and Turkey) is the most popular meat to buy and eat (69% of consumers), compared with Beef (16%), Pork (11%) and Lamb (4%).
It's a good thing too, because there is plenty of evidence that eating more poultry meat is good for your health.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has shown there are lower levels of fat in poultry compared to other meats and data from the US National Institutes of Health supports this. For instance, a skinless turkey breast contains around 3 grams of fat per 100 grams weight , compared to 10 grams for a beef steak or lamb chop. Moreover, the proportion of saturated fats in poultry is much lower than for red meat. Eating more chicken and turkey and less red meat will lower consumption of saturated fats which contribute to current obesity levels.
Chicken also does not contain the trans-fats that contribute to heart disease, and which are present in beef and lamb. So as well as fighting obesity, eating poultry is good for heart health.
And new research has shown the benefits from eating poultry go even further. A study that has been run by Harvard University over the past 20 years recently concluded that substituting a portion of red meat per day with chicken can reduce the risk of breast cancer by almost one fifth.
A major reason that poultry sales are continuing to increase is because the meat remains affordable to families in today's difficult times - as the costs of so many other meats have risen sky-high, poultry has remained a cost effective option for families across the country.
It's no silver bullet, but the case for all of us to eat more poultry instead of red meat is clearer than ever and holds some of the answers to tackling the UK's obesity crisis and the creation of a healthier nation.