Poultry as bad as red meats for cholesterol, says study

Henrietta Strickland
June 7, 2019

Researchers at the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) in the U.S. state of California recruited more than 100 healthy volunteers for their diet experiment.

Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study raises questions about poultry and links it to cholesterol.

Contrary to popular belief, red and white meat have equal effects on blood cholesterol levels, according to new research from the US. And what they found was surprising, given the conventional wisdom surrounding white meat.

There had been no comprehensive comparison of the effects of red meat, white meat and nonmeat proteins on blood cholesterol until now, Krauss said. "These results were similar whether or not the diets were high or low in saturated fat". There are actually different kinds of LDL, characterised by the size of their particles. However, researchers found in the new study that levels of LDL did not change depending on the type of meat that participants consumed.

The study does have some caveats. That elevation in bad cholesterol after eating chicken can occur with or without consuming any saturated fat.

The study did not include grass-fed beef or processed products like bacon or sausage; nor did it include fish.

When it comes to curbing meat intake for better health, red meat is something that tops the chart in nearly every case study.

Unfortunately, standard LDL cholesterol tests may not indicate whether more small or large particles are present in a patient's blood, so the study authors added that physicians' advice to patients to reduce red meat intake "should not be based only on their effects on blood cholesterol".

USA dietary guidelines now suggest adults on a standard 2,000-calorie-per-day diet limit their total consumption of meat, poultry and eggs to an average of 3.7 ounces daily.

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