Red meat can be part of a healthy diet

CHICAGO – Continued research confirms that including lean red meat in a heart-healthy diet can positively impact blood cholesterol levels and actually help individuals follow the diet with better long-term compliance.

The recently published research looked at the impact of lean red and white meat on blood cholesterol levels. In essence, the consumption of lean red meat or lean white meat over an extended period of time is similarly effective in reducing “bad” cholesterol and raising “good” cholesterol concentrations in those people with elevated cholesterol levels.

The results of the study showed that both lean meat sources lowered the bad and raised the good cholesterol, according to researchers. Total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol – the bad cholesterol – decreased for the duration of the study. In both groups, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels – the good cholesterol – increased. Combined, these favorable changes in blood cholesterol levels could lead to a reduction in coronary heart disease risk.

One hundred forty five men and women, ranging in age from 18 to 75 years, with mild to moderate blood cholesterol levels completed both phases of the 72-week study. For the first 36-week phase, half of the group derived 80 percent of their meat intake from lean red meat sources, while the other half derived it from lean white meat sources. After a four-week washout period of free meat selection, the groups switched meat sources for the last 36-week phase.

Health professionals say that consumers looking for the leanest cuts should opt for those with the word loin or round in the name, like sirloin and eye round.

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