Is Red Meat Really Worse For Cholesterol Than White Meat?

Apparently not. According to a study conducted by a team of dietitians and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating red meat has the same affect on your cholesterol as eating white meat, although there may be other factors that could increase your risk of heart disease – further research is required to determine the affect of these other factors. Proteins from vegetables, legumes and dairy should still be the preferred sources of protein for those wanting to keep their cholesterol in check, according to the study.

The dietitians used 100 healthy men and women of varying ages and split them into two groups, placing them on diets that were either high or low in saturated fat. Both groups had to cycle through three diets over the course of twelve weeks, with each diet lasting four weeks. Blood samples were collected from the participants before and after they were placed on each of these strict, but similar diets. 

The first diet’s main source of protein was from red meat (beef), the second diet’s main source of protein was white meat (chicken) and the third diet’s main source of protein was plant proteins. The researchers found that plant proteins were the best source of protein for maintaining low blood cholesterol.

However, the dietitians were surprised to find that in both the high and low saturated fat groups, both the white meat and red meat diets had the same affect on blood cholesterol if both meats had equal amounts of saturated fats. The study also found that there was no difference in the concentrations of large and small blood cholesterol particles with respect to the white and red meat diets – large particles are considered preferable as they do not contribute as much to the hardening of arteries as small particles. The study arrives at the conclusion that the leanness of meat is more important than the type of meat for those wanting to keep the blood cholesterol in check.