White meat has great impact on cholesterol level

Henrietta Strickland
June 7, 2019

"Our new finding was that the level of LDL cholesterol was the same with both red meat and white meat, and that the LDL level was lower with plant-based protein", Dr Krauss told science website Gizmodo. This needs to be explored in more detail, they added.

White meat, such as chicken, may raise blood cholesterol levels as much as red meat does, a new, small study details.

It is well-known that saturated fats increase the concentration of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, in your bloodstream and if this harmful waxy substance builds up in your arteries, the result could be a heart attack or stroke. Saturated fats occur naturally in foods such as fatty beef, poultry with skin, butter and cream and cheeses, according to the American Heart Association.

That's not to say red and white meats offer the same health benefits and risks; according to NBC News, previous studies have revealed that red meat eaters have higher levels of a chemical called TMAO in their blood, which is linked to a higher risk of heart disease than vegetarians or people who only eat white meat.

So, those who eschew steak in favour of chicken because they think it's healthier may put lean beef back on the menu.

For the test, more than 100 healthy men and women of the age bracket 21 and 65 were asked to either consume food with high-saturated fat, provided primarily butter and full-fat foods, or low saturated fat groups.

Each group went through three different diets: one focused on red meats, another on white meats and one on non-meat proteins.

In other words, white and red meats had the same effects on blood cholesterol levels, the researchers found. Researchers took blood samples from all participants before and at the end of each diet cycle.

But neither is as good as cutting out meat altogether and eating plant-based proteins instead, the study found.

Red meat has always been associated with high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease due to its high levels of saturated fat, says the American Heart Association. A diet in high saturated fat was found to increase "bad cholesterol" regardless of the protein source.

The study also divulged the size of the cholesterol particles where small particles contribute more to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) risk as compared to the large ones.

The long-held belief that eating white meat is less harmful for your heart may still hold true, though.

The agency also said there was evidence that eating a lot of red meat (beef, lamb and pork) could expose one to cancers of the colon, pancreas and even prostate. Romo-Palafox, who was not involved in the research, noted that participants were even given their meals in this "well-controlled" study.

"When we planned this study, we expected red meat to have a more adverse effect on blood cholesterol levels than white meat, but we were surprised that this was not the case", study senior researcher Dr. Ronald Krauss, a senior scientist and director of atherosclerosis research at the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) in California, said in a statement.

We do not need to see the study results "as a white or black issue", she said. While nutritionists make recommendations for the whole public, each individual is unique in nutritional needs.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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