We love our crops in Iowa; we're number one in corn and soybeans, after all. But we're also a top meat-producing state, and that's good for the economy and consumers. In this week's Iowa Minute, we explore why meat is an essential part of your diet. Don't be misled with scare tactics: meat is the best natural source of complete, high-quality proteins that humans need. 

Iowa Minute Transcript

Laurie Johns: So many choices at the grocery store these days. So many different cuts, so many different options, some of them aren't meat at all. How do you know which is the best choice then for your family when it comes to nutrition? 

Dr. Ruth MacDonald, Director & Chair, Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition, Iowa State University: Animal-source foods such as meat, dairy, eggs, contain what is called nutritionally high-quality protein. Plant foods are not high quality proteins. They are usually lacking in one or more of those essential amino acids.

Laurie Johns: Dr. Ruth MacDonald, one of the nation's preeminent food scientists, says the key to the best diet is moderation, not fear. 

Dr. MacDonald: Having a balance of other fruits and vegetables in your diet is important. But to be afraid of food because of the misinformation that's out there is unfortunate.

Laurie Johns: There are many ways that animals are raised for meat, and those differences impact the price you'll pay at the grocery store. But one thing is for certain: if it's choices you want, farmers will provide them. With your Iowa Minute, I'm Laurie Johns.