White meat raises LDL cholesterol as much as red meat, finds APPROACH clinical trial
White meat raises LDL cholesterol as much as red meat, finds APPROACH clinical trial.
A new study has found that even saturated fats from white meat raise low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) by the same amount as red meat. Going by the findings risks associated with high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol remain same irrespective of meat type.
Low-density cholesterol is termed as bad cholesterol and the popular belief is that consumption of red meat has worse outcomes compared to white meat such as poultry, on blood cholesterol levels.
The study has been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Consumption of red meat has become unpopular during the last few decades over concerns about its association with increased heart disease. Government dietary guidelines have encouraged the consumption of poultry as a healthier alternative to red meat.
But the results of APPROACH (Animal and Plant Protein and Cardiovascular Health) trial, were notable, as they indicated that restricting meat altogether, whether red or white, is more advisable for lowering blood cholesterol levels than previously thought. The study found that plant protein is the healthiest for blood cholesterol.
The study, led by scientists at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) -- the research arm of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland -- surprised the researchers with the discovery that consuming high levels of red meat or white poultry resulted in higher blood cholesterol levels than consuming a comparable amount of plant proteins. Moreover, this effect was observed whether or not the diet contained high levels of saturated fat, which increased blood cholesterol to the same extent with all three protein sources.
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 -- their effects on cholesterol are identical when saturated fat levels are equivalent," said the study senior author Ronald Krauss, M.D., senior scientist and director of Atherosclerosis Research at CHORI.
Krauss, who is also a UCSF professor of medicine, noted that the meats studied did not include grass-fed beef or processed products such as bacon or sausage; nor did it include fish.
This study also found that consuming high amounts of saturated fat increased concentrations of large cholesterol-enriched LDL particles, which have a weaker connection to cardiovascular disease than smaller LDL particles.
But there had been no comprehensive comparison of the effects of red meat, white meat and nonmeat proteins on blood cholesterol until now, Krauss said. Nonmeat proteins such as vegetables, dairy, and legumes, such as beans, show the best cholesterol benefit, he said.
"Our results indicate that current advice to restrict red meat and not white meat should not be based only on their effects on blood cholesterol," Krauss said. "Indeed, other effects of red meat consumption could contribute to heart disease, and these effects should be explored in more detail in an effort to improve health."