Poultry as bad as red meats for cholesterol, says study

Grant Boone
June 7, 2019

The study was conducted on 113 adults and each of them were assigned three diets for one month - rich in lean cuts of beef, lean cuts of chicken or turkey or plant protein.

Flying in the face of popular belief, new research suggests both red meat and white meat can drive up your cholesterol levels. Prior to this study, it was commonly believed that the high levels of saturated fat found in red meat, as opposed to poultry products, raises low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad" cholesterol, leading to build-up in human arteries that can cause heart disease.

"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", Krauss told Gizmodo by email. "But we were surprised that this was not the case - their effects on cholesterol levels are identical when saturated fat levels are equivalent", said the study lead author Ronald Krauss, Professor at University of California in the US.

The study was published Tuesday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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The researchers discovered that consuming large amounts of either red or white meat resulted in an effectively equal level of large cholesterol-enriched LDL particles. Granted, smaller LDL particles are more strongly linked to cardiovascular disease than large ones.

The study does have some caveats. Either of these factors could have made the comparison more favourable for white meat.

Either way, you could be endangering your heart health, suggests a new study.

U.S. 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. "And since individuals may differ in their responses, a cholesterol test is the best way to see how the diet is working".

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