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Study: White Meat Can Increase Cholesterol Levels Just Like Red Meat


Due to its lower saturated fat content than red meat, white meat is the healthier choice when it comes to heart health for the longest moment.

Even researchers at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, however, were amazed to find that consuming elevated amounts of poultry or red meat resulted in elevated concentrations of cholesterol in the blood. The scientists discovered that white and dark meats are associated with heart disease hazards, contrary to common belief.

White Meat vs. Dark Meat

CHORI, the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland’s research arm, led the study called Animal and Plant Protein and Cardiovascular Health or APPROACH trial. Researchers found that eating high amounts of saturated fat increased concentrations of large LDL particles enriched with cholesterol, which have a weaker connection with cardiovascular disease than smaller LDL particles.

High LDL or bad cholesterol may obstruct a person’s arteries and increase the risk of heart attack and coronary artery disease.

More than 100 people and women from the San Francisco Bay Area aged 21 to 65 and in excellent health were participants in the outpatient study undertaken between 2012 and 2016. For the length of the studies, they all abstained from drinking alcohol. Two groups were randomly allocated to study respondents in the trial: the first eaten high-saturated butter fat and full-fat foods, while the other group had low-saturated fat products. Three test diets cycled them: red meat diet, white meat diet, and a meat-free diet.

CHORI created and prepared the diets and menus in cooperation with the UCSF-based Clinical and Translational Studies Institute’s Bionutrition Unit. Four-day rotating menus for all diets were created and made accessible with the provision of snacks at 5 energy levels. Each experimental diet lasted four weeks and ended with a washout period allowing respondents to eat their usual foods.

Both Meats Have Same Effects On Cholesterol Levels

Participants consumed beef as a source of red meat while chicken served as their main protein of white meat. The research results disclosed comparable impacts of red and white meat and were observed with diets containing either low or high saturated fat concentrations.

“Our findings suggest that present advice to limit red meat and not white meat should not be based solely on its impacts on blood cholesterol,” said Ronald Krauss, M.D., senior author of the study and CHORI director of atherosclerosis research. He added that “other impacts of consuming red food could contribute to heart illness, and these impacts should be further studied in an attempt to enhance health.” According to the American Heart Association, only 5 to 6 percent of calories should come from saturated fat. It also recommends choosing healthier food alternatives to reduced concentrations of blood cholesterol.

The research is released in the Clinical Nutrition Journal of the United States.