More often than not, it seems like meat and dairy products get a bad rap in news coverage. There is no shortage of groups trying to convince consumers to eliminate meat from their diets, and companies all over the world are spending billions of dollars trying to concoct imitation meat products in a laboratory.

So it was refreshing to see two different studies last week that underscore the benefits of consuming real meat and dairy.

The first was a study from St. Andrew’s University in Scotland that assessed the hydration responses of several drinks. It found that milk was more hydrating than plain water or other alternatives because it contains nutrients that keep hydration happening over a longer period. 

Another study by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) found that meat, eggs and milk provide important “macronutrients,” such as protein, fats and carbs, and micronutrients that cannot be easily obtained from plant-based foods in the needed quality and quantity. The FAO said it’s the most comprehensive analysis ever of the benefits and risks of consuming animal-sourced foods and is based on data from more than 500 scientific papers and some 250 policy documents.

In addition to high quality protein, meat from livestock provides a number of essential fatty acids — along with iron, calcium, zinc, selenium, Vitamin B12, choline and bioactive compounds like carnitine, creatine and taurine that have important health and developmental functions, the FAO said. 

Farm Bureau has promoted these benefits for years with its “Real Farmers. Real Food. Real Meat.” campaign. It’s nice to see others adding to the conversation.