Wild game — A healthy choice?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/wild-game/MY01079
- With Mayo Clinic nutritionists
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.Katherine Zeratsky and Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer K. Nelson, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.N.S.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, she plays a vital role in bringing you healthy recipes and meal planning.
"Nutrition is one way people have direct control over the quality of their lives," she says. "I hope to translate the science of nutrition into ways that people can select and prepare great-tasting foods that help maintain health and treat disease."
A St. Paul, Minn., native, she has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978, and is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 60 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees nutrition services, staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the "Mayo Clinic Diet" and the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook." She has been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books, including "Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody," "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook." She contributes to the strategic direction of the Food & Nutrition Center, which includes creating recipes and menus, reviewing nutrition content of various articles, and providing expert answers to nutrition questions.
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, she is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She's active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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Dec. 4, 2009
Wild game — A healthy choice?
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
When autumn arrives in my home state of Minnesota, I start getting questions from hunters about the health effects of eating wild game. Deer, elk, caribou and antelope are examples of game meats, and duck, pheasant and turkey are commonly hunted game birds.
In general, wild game is leaner than domesticated animals, because animals in the wild are typically more active. In comparison to lean cuts of beef and pork, game meat has about one-third fewer calories (game birds have about half the calories) and quite a bit less saturated and total fat. Cholesterol for wild and domestic meat ranges from 50 to 75 milligrams for a 3-ounce serving — with wild game tending to be in the lower end of the range.
With game there are a few health-related precautions to keep in mind:
- Chronic wasting disease (CWD). Similar to mad cow disease, CWD is found in deer and elk. While human infection is a potential concern, there have been no verified cases. To minimize risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that hunters who harvest deer or elk from known CWD-positive areas consider having the animal tested for CWD before consuming the meat. (Information about testing is available from most state wildlife agencies.) In addition, hunters should take precautions such as avoiding animals that appear ill and following good field-dressing practices, such as wearing gloves and minimizing the handling of brain and spinal cord tissues.
- Lead levels. A number of studies have demonstrated that lead ammunition can cause lead contamination of game. Whether this is a concern has yet to be determined. However, the CDC recommends discarding portions of game that contain lead bullet fragments or using non-lead ammunition. For those at highest risk of adverse effects from lead exposure — pregnant women and children younger than 6 years of age — it may be prudent to avoid eating game shot with lead bullets or slugs.
Of course, eating game is a matter of personal choice. After considering all the information, what are your thoughts?
- Jenniferblog index
- Wild game hunting and food safety. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/Features/HuntingSafety/. Accessed Dec. 2, 2009.
- Chronic wasting disease. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/cwd/. Accessed Dec. 2, 2009.
- Health consultation: The potential for ingestion exposure to lead fragments in venison in Wisconsin. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/HAC/pha/LeadFragmentsinVenison/Venison%20and%20Lead%20HC%20110408.pdf. Accessed Dec. 2, 2009.
- Hunting with lead: Association between blood lead levels and wild game consumption. Environmental Research. 2009;109(8):952.
- North Dakota Lead Exposure Study, October 2008. http://www.rmef.org/NR/rdonlyres/F07627AA-4D94-4CBC-B8FD-4F4F18401303/0/ND_report.pdf. Accessed Dec 2, 2009.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 22. U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search. Accessed Dec. 2, 2009.