Both Red And White Meat Raise Cholesterol Levels
For years, many health experts have believed that replacing red meat with white meat is the best solution.
Red meat has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. White meat, on the other hand, has always been considered the superior choice.
However, new research from the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) shows that white meat, such as chicken, is just as bad for blood cholesterol levels as red meat.
Therefore, if you want to control your blood cholesterol levels, you should avoid eating too much of both types of meat.
According to a credible source study published Tuesday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, non-meat proteins – such as vegetables, dairy products, and legumes – have been shown to be the most beneficial for cholesterol levels.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol generally has a negative connotation. However, not all cholesterol is bad. There are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) HDL cholesterol is known as “good” cholesterol. It removes dangerous cholesterol from the blood and allows it to be excreted from the body.
LDL is known as the “bad” cholesterol. When it is present in the blood, it causes plaque to build up in the walls of the arteries in the heart and brain. If left untreated, this plaque buildup can lead to the following conditions
- Heart disease
- Myocardial infarction
The root cause of the problem
To develop a healthy eating plan to control your cholesterol, you don’t have to skip meat altogether. Some types of meat are high in saturated fat, but there are many lean meat options.
You can safely include meat in your diet. However, it depends on the type of meat and how you serve it. For example, choose lean meats or small amounts of meat (3 ounces or less).
- Lean pork belly
- Lamb: legs, arms, and loin
- Lean meat
- Meat labeled “prime” is fatty
How to cook
How you cook the meat is just as important as how you cut it. Do not choose lean belly meat to fry or make a creamy sauce. This will negate the benefits of lean pork chops. Switch to these healthier dishes.
- Trim off as much visible fat as possible before cooking.
- Grill, bake or broil instead of frying.
- Use a grill to collect grease and juices while cooking.
- Cook stews and other meat dishes at least one day ahead of time. Refrigeration will help remove fat as it solidifies and rises to the top.
White meat can also raise cholesterol levels
The researchers recruited more than 100 healthy adults, who were divided into two groups. The first group ate a diet high in saturated fat, while the second group ate a diet low in saturated fat.
The participants then followed three different diets for four weeks: a red meat diet, a white meat diet and a meat-free protein diet.
Beef made up the majority of the red meat diet, while chicken made up the majority of the white meat diet.
Researchers took blood samples from participants at the beginning and end of each diet to measure total cholesterol, as well as LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, cholesterol – the “bad” cholesterol that causes plaque to build up in arteries and increases the risk of heart disease.
The research team expected red meat to be more harmful than white meat. But to their surprise, they found that red meat and white meat had the same effect on cholesterol levels, including LDL, despite having the same saturated fat content.
The participants had lower LDL levels after consuming plant-based proteins.
The study also found that red and white meat with high saturated fat content increased the number of large LDL particles.
This is odd because, according to Yalvac, it is the smaller particles, not the larger ones, that are most associated with cholesterol plaque buildup.
Studies like this one help us better understand the relationship between meat consumption and heart disease, but the story clearly doesn’t end there, he added.
“Our results suggest that current recommendations to restrict red meat over white meat should not be based solely on its effect on blood cholesterol.” Lead author of the study, Dr. Ronald Kraus, senior scientist, and director of atherosclerosis research at CHORI, said in a news release. Indeed, other effects of red meat consumption may contribute to heart disease, and these effects should be further investigated to improve health.”
VLDL and LDL are the two types of “bad cholesterol.”
Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) are two types of lipoproteins or a combination of proteins and fats in the blood that carry cholesterol and triglycerides throughout the body.
Cholesterol is a type of fat that helps build cells, while triglycerides are a type of fat that stores energy in cells.
LDL carries cholesterol and VLDL carries triglycerides.
Our bodies need LDL and VLDL to function, but too much LDL and VLDL can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
In addition, lowering LDL cholesterol levels can reduce cardiovascular risk, Harkin explained.
High triglyceride levels are also associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. However, most studies have not shown that reducing triglycerides reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, he added.
Federal Dietary Guidelines No Longer Include Cholesterol Goals
The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) sources of dietary advice have recently changed and no longer focus on dietary cholesterol or LDL levels.
According to health experts, there is not enough scientific evidence to place strict limits on cholesterol.
However, experts still recommend that patients keep LDL levels below 100 mg/dL and triglyceride levels below 150 mg/dL.
In general, the lower the VLDL and LDL levels, the less plaque buildup and the lower the risk of heart disease.
New research suggests that white meat may affect blood cholesterol levels as much as red meat. Federal dietary guidelines have recently lowered cholesterol limits, but health experts continue to recommend that patients set LDL levels below 100 mg/dL. This study adds to the growing body of evidence that following a plant-based diet is healthier.