Contrary to popular belief, consuming red meat and white meat such as poultry, have equal effects on blood cholesterol levels, according to a study published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Bottom line, experts say a plant-based diet is best for those anxious about their cholesterol. Volunteers were allocated to red meat, white meat or non-meat protein diets consumed for four weeks each in random order. The analysis is reportedly the first to comprehensively compare the impact that red and white meat have on cholesterol.
In the last few decades the consumption of red meat in Western countries has declined due to concerns regarding its Association with risk of cardiovascular disease. "So the result can be viewed as indicating either a cholesterol raising effect of both meats, or a cholesterol lowering effect of plant foods, or both", lead author Ronald Krauss told Newsweek.
The researchers did not test the effects of a plant-based diet on cholesterol levels but concluded that plant-based protein is favorable to animal-derived meat, both white and red, in relation to heart health. The study found that plant proteins are the healthiest for blood cholesterol.
Conventional wisdom says to eat white meat and shun the red.
The study was conducted by researchers from the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI), part of the University of California, San Francisco. About it reported in a press release on MedicalXpress. Government dietary guidelines have encouraged consumption of poultry as a healthier alternative to red meat. Nonmeat proteins such as vegetables, dairy, and legumes, such as beans, show the best cholesterol benefit.
Kitchin's research interests include patient education and health behavior.