Nutrition Professionals Recognize the Importance of Protein

by Courtney Kibblewhite

Bismarck, N.D. – A recent presentation to nutrition professionals at the virtual 2021 North Dakota Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (NDAND) ‘Nourishing Health’ Symposium & Expo, held March 11 and 12, highlighted the benefits of protein as part of a healthy adult diet. Sherri Stastny, PhD, RD, CSSD, LRD, professor at North Dakota State University (NDSU) Department of Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences, presented “Greater Protein Intakes are Associated with Improved Body Composition in Women” at the recent symposium, which was open to registered dietitians, dietetic students, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, certified dietary managers, and other allied health professionals.

Stastny’s presentation was drawn from a recent research study conducted by NDSU researchers, which focused on how eating animal-based protein, like beef, can impact muscular performance in adults. The research, which took place between 2016 and 2018, was funded by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, as a contractor to the Beef Checkoff; the Minnesota Beef Council; and with long-time support from the North Dakota Beef Commission (NDBC).


Stastny’s presentation highlighted the strong theoretical link between dietary protein intake and muscle quality, and focused on the quality of protein, the timing of protein intake during the day, and at what point in the lifespan, along with key sources of protein/nutrient-dense foods plus the NDSU study. “Beginning as early as age 40-50, we start to lose strength and muscle mass, at a very slow, but unfortunately, annual rate. Our study showed that animal-based protein intake had a positive influence on both upper and lower body strength and endurance measures,” says Stastny. “Key sources of protein-rich, animal-based foods that contain more of needed proteins include lean beef and pork, low-fat milk and yogurt, whey protein drinks and other foods that are key to maintenance of functional abilities such as walking and getting up and down from a chair. Getting enough nutrient-dense protein foods in the diet could slow loss of muscle as we age.”

“This study and its findings are very important to supporting and sharing our message of the importance of beef as part of a healthy, balanced diet,” says Nancy Jo Bateman, NDBC executive director. “Our state’s checkoff dollars were used to support research done in North Dakota that is truly having a national impact. Not only is this important to consumers, but it’s something that beef producers in our state that pay the beef checkoff need to be very proud of.”

The NDBC, representing North Dakota beef farmers and ranchers, manages the state beef checkoff program with the mission of enhancing beef demand by strengthening consumer trust and exceeding consumer expectations. This is accomplished through programs and activities in the areas of promotion, research and consumer information. Learn more at


North Dakota Beef Commission

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