Myth: There are many dangers associated with consuming red meat and health, including increased risk for heart disease and higher cholesterol.
The Facts: Red meat and health go hand-in-hand. Eating red meat daily can help lower cholesterol as part of a heart-healthy diet.
The latest research on red meat and health shows that a diet that includes lean beef every day is a part of a heart-healthy diet that is as effective in lowering total and LDL “bad” cholesterol as the gold standard heart-healthy diet (according to DASH – Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Here’s what you should know about red meat and health:
- Research studies tend to generalize. When you hear research studies about the dangers of red meat consumption, they often use “red meat” as a blanket term to include all cuts of meat – including hamburgers, processed meats and things that are not necessarily beef, like bacon, hot dogs and lamb. Make sure you read studies carefully and learn how lean beef can be a part of your diet.
- Lean beef in a heart-healthy diet can lower cholesterol levels and improve risk factors for heart disease. The Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) study on lean beef and health was conducted by researchers at Pennsylvania State University and published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.The study showed several things, including:
- Lean beef can be included as part of a heart-healthy diet that is still low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
- Lean beef can be part of a diet that improves major risk factors for heart disease.
- Some of the most popular cuts of beef are lean and can be part of a heart-healthy diet, dispelling myths around the dangers of red meat consumption.Nearly two thirds of the beef sold at the grocery store qualifies as lean by the FDA definition of:
- less than 10 grams of total fat
- less than 4.5 grams of saturated fat, and
- 95 mg of cholesterol per 3.5 oz. serving
Of the top 25 most popular beef cuts, 18 qualify as lean and can positively contribute to heart-health. These include:
- Top Sirloin
- T-Bone Steak
- Top Round