Posted on Jun 10, 2019, 9 p.m.
Consuming red or white meat both have equal detrimental effects on blood cholesterol levels, regards of popular belief, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Led by scientists from the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute this study revealed consuming high levels of red meat or white poultry meat resulted in higher blood cholesterol levels than consuming comparable amounts of plant protein; this effect was observed whether or not the diet contained high levels of saturated fats, which increased blood cholesterol to the same extent with all of the protein sources.
"When we planned this study, we expected red meat to have a more adverse effect on blood cholesterol levels than white meat, but we were surprised that this was not the case—their effects on cholesterol are identical when saturated fat levels are equivalent," says Ronald Krauss, M.D, who also notes that the meats studied did not include grass fed beef, fish, or processed products.
Plant proteins were found to be healthiest for blood cholesterol, and the researchers indicate that restricting meat altogether is more advisable for lowering blood cholesterol levels than what was previously thought.
Concentrations of large cholesterol enriched LDL particles were found to increase when consuming high amounts of saturated fat: large cholesterol enriched LDL particles have a smaller connection to cardiovascular disease than smaller LDL particles.
Both meats increased amounts of large LDL similarly, thus using standard LDL cholesterol levels as the measure of CVD risk may lead to overestimation of the risk for both higher meat and saturated fat intakes, as most tests may primarily reflect levels of large LDL particles.
"Our results indicate that current advice to restrict red meat and not white meat should not be based only on their effects on blood cholesterol," Krauss said. "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."
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