A recent poll has underlined the importance men in the North East place on getting enough meat in their diet, with many saying they felt irritable - or even angry - when deprived of it.
A study, conducted by pub chain Sizzling Pubs, has revealed that over half of men in the North East (57 per cent) claim symptoms including lack of energy, sadness, mood swings and even anger, when they are deprived of meat.
A third of local men also admit they would rather go shoe shopping with their other half than miss out on meat.
Working with dietitian Dr Carrie Ruxton, the national pub chain conducted the research into men’s eating habits to identify why meat makes men tick.
The survey revealed that men in the North East are particularly affected as almost a third of local men (30 per cent) felt unsatisfied after not eating meat, 18 per cent lacked energy and eight per cent said they felt irritable. Three per cent even said they had feelings of anger when going without meat.
Over half of men polled in the North East (54 per cent) felt that they weren’t sitting down to a proper meal unless it contained meat.
A third of those polled naming steak as their all-time favourite meat. Sirloin is the most-preferred cut, with 31 per cent of the vote.
Dr Ruxton said: “Current national trends show that fewer than three per cent of men report opting for a meat-free diet, and this dietary preference can be traced right back through human evolution.
“Men have eaten meat from caveman times when game provided up to two thirds of daily calories as part of an omnivorous (mixed) diet. However, no-one ever painted a carrot on a cave wall so meat has always had a special role in most men’s diets.
“Men are probably attracted to meat because it’s high in protein which, in the past, would have helped them build muscle for regular hunting duties. Nowadays, men are more likely to hunt for beer or the latest technology but the built-in desire for protein is hard to shake off.
“Meat is rich in B vitamins for energy, zinc for sperm production and, in the case of red meat, iron for mental function and blood oxygen transport. This makes meat, particularly lean meat such as steak, a nourishing food for men.”
The survey also revealed the lengths to which men in the North East would go to avoid going meat-free. A quarter of those surveyed would prefer be on washing up duty for a year and one in seven would opt to read War and Peace than go without meat, while a further 11 per cent of men would rather watch their sports team lose.
The government recommends that adults eat no more than 500g of cooked red or processed meat weekly which equates to eating red meat 3-4 times a week. There are no restrictions on white meat.