Vitals

White meat no healthier than red meat when it comes to “bad cholesterol”

Study results could impact Dietary Guidelines for Americans


By Shanley Pierce | August 5, 2019

If you’re a steak lover who begrudgingly orders chicken for health reasons, read on.

White meat has long been considered more beneficial than red meat, especially in terms of reducing cardiovascular risk. But a recent study challenges these claims.

The randomized study, published in June in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, analyzed 113 healthy participants who were separated into two groups. In one group, 62 people ate a diet high in saturated fat, and in the other, 51 people ate a diet low in saturated fat. Both groups consumed protein from three sources—red meat, white meat and nonmeat (including vegetables, legumes, nuts, grains and soy products)—for four weeks each.

The major findings of the study are twofold. First, the study showed what experts in the field already expected: regardless of the protein source—whether it’s red meat, white meat or nonmeat—people who consumed high amounts of saturated fat had elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the so-called bad cholesterol) and apolipoprotein B (apoB), both markers of cardiovascular risk.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re eating plantbased,” said Karen Aspry, M.D., co-chair of the American College of Cardiology Nutrition and Lifestyle Workgroup and associate professor of medicine at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University. “You have a lot of people who are in the vegan/vegetarian diet world, and that’s great that they’re not eating meat, but they may be consuming some of these very high saturated fat tropical oils, like coconut oil.”

Second, the findings showed that, contrary to popular belief, there was no benefit to consuming white meat instead of red meat to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. LDL and apoB levels rose in both red and white meat groups and outcomes did not differ significantly between red and white meat when saturated fat levels were equivalent.

“If you are maybe thinking, ‘Well, if I eat high amounts of fat, but I eat white meat instead of red meat, I’ll be okay,’ the answer is no,” Aspry said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re eating red or white meat, you’re going to see these numbers go up.”

The study suggests that the cardiovascular effects of meat may be influenced by more than saturated fat content.

Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services publish Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which outlines nutrition information and offers advice and recommendations to improve health and reduce chronic disease.

Results of the recent study could potentially impact these guidelines, said Sue Day, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston’s School of Public Health. But before that happens, more research must be done comparing the cardiovascular risks of white and red meat.

To tease out the specific roles of each protein source within a large-scale population study is enormously difficult and has never been done, Day said.

“To understand the association between protein and cardiovascular disease risk, all of the protein types need to be clearly defined and studied while considering the total diet and all the other nutrients in food that can affect cardiovascular disease risk,” she said.




Social Posts

profile_image

Houston Methodist

@MethodistHosp

@SilkRoadMed We appreciate the shout-out.

6 mins ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

RT @UHCougarMBK: .@UHouston coming in at No 25 this week#ForTheCity #GoCoogs

18 mins ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

RT @UHcheerleading: Today, we honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His message will always be one of love, compassion…

19 mins ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

#Prostatecancer risk factors include: -being over the age of 50 -family history -diet Learn more: https://t.co/PQ77F2XysX #CancerMoonshot #endcancer

43 mins ago
profile_image

CHI St. Luke's Health

@CHI_StLukes

As we reflect this #MLKDay, we hope to continue his legacy through caring for our communities, helping our neighbors, and sharing his message with others. https://t.co/phuNnJeQWG

46 mins ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Veteran awaiting heart transplant sang to lift others https://t.co/iBWkXD2gAZ via #VAntagePoint

1 hour ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

Inspired by the support she received during #uterinecancer treatment and a new perspective on life, Callie Glaves is exploring ways to give back to others: https://t.co/j51l5j8b2j @PamSolimanMD #gyncsm #endcancer

3 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Veteran Arthur Roland Keller, who served in a WWI machine gun battalion at the Battle of Soissons: https://t.co/zhtwsuYoDM

3 hours ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

RT @RiceEngineering: Today we honor and celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so that we may keep his dream alive forev…

4 hours ago
profile_image

TexasHeartInstitute

@Texas_Heart

"Many older adults don't get needed cardiac rehab after a heart attack," says a new study. https://t.co/sIlmV5VCRd via @Reuters https://t.co/XbCCl5QHDF

4 hours ago
profile_image

Memorial Hermann

@memorialhermann

Even though Dana was just three when she first arrived at TIRR Memorial Hermann for polio treatment, she remembers it clearly. Nearly five decades after her treatment as a child, Dana returned. Read why: https://t.co/PJ1jfOqn2O.

5 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

@totalq8y2 Hi there, please see our response to your direct message. Best wishes to you.

5 hours ago
profile_image

Harris Health System

@harrishealth

A sliced apple versus a slice of apple pie. If it were a healthy choice contest, fresh fruit would certainly win. But many of us may find it hard to resist that sweet treat. To help you eat better, try the following simple steps. https://t.co/nAQHDZhmXI https://t.co/1AcQaEk6W8

5 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

In recognition of Dr. King’s incredible legacy of service and leadership to gain equality for all Americans, Congress designated #MLK federal holiday as a national day of service. #MLKDay is a chance to honor his life and re-commit ourselves to serving our communities. https://t.co/XbzfO3k6o8

5 hours ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

Campus is closed today in honor of #MLKDay. Celebrate Dr. King's life and legacy with UH: https://t.co/ZKWf16ih45 https://t.co/ZXdr2MFaN0

8 hours ago