Red meat? White meat? One study says it really doesn't matter

Maricruz Casares
Junio 7, 2019

According to senior study author Ronald Krauss, the director of Atherosclerosis Research at CHORI, theirs is the first study to directly compare the effects of red meat, white meat, and non-meat sources of protein on cholesterol levels in diets where other major nutrients were kept constant and saturated fat intake was controlled.

The new findings contradict guidelines from health groups that eating poultry is better for heart health than red meat, suggesting there is less health difference between the two proteins than previously thought. And while small and medium-size LDL is strongly linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, the relationship is weaker for large-size LDL. That elevation in bad cholesterol after eating chicken can occur with or without consuming any saturated fat.

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"The results of the present study support current dietary recommendations to adopt dietary patterns with high vegetable content, but do not provide evidence for choosing white over red meat for reducing CVD risk on the basis of plasma lipid and lipoprotein effects", said the study. The study only looked at lean meats and did not include processed meats or fish. Either of these factors could have made the comparison more favourable for white meat. The experts often recommend the use in food of poultry as a healthier alternative to meat mammals.

Either way, you could be endangering your heart health, suggests a new study. "Indeed, other effects of red meat consumption could contribute to heart disease, and these effects should be explored in more detail in an effort to improve health". In the study of 113 people, participants ate three different diets over the course of three months, one that was either rich in lean cuts of beef, lean cuts of chicken or turkey, or plant proteins.

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