white meat

For decades, Americans have been told that red meat is bad for the heart. They’ve been encouraged to substitute white meat instead. As a result, millions treat pork chops, steaks and burgers as forbidden foods and embrace chicken and turkey instead. A new study challenges that wisdom (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online June 4, 2019).

Comparing Red Meat, White Meat and No Meat:

Scientists in California compared the effects of diets high or low in saturated fat among more than 100 healthy adults. Within each group, people followed a diet based on red meat, poultry or plant protein for a month at a time. Their meals were provided to reduce the chance of straying off the prescribed regimen. In between each month of controlled diets, people were allowed to eat their usual fare for two weeks. This offered a “wash-out” period, so the effects of one diet didn’t carry over to the next. 

Both red meat and white meat raised total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol more than plant protein. It didn’t matter whether people got red or white meat if they were eating a high saturated fat diet. Their lipids were elevated compared to those of those following a low saturated fat diet. 

The authors conclude that their study shows no good reason to pick white over red meat to lower heart disease risk:

“The findings are in keeping with recommendations promoting diets with a high proportion of plant-based food but, based on lipid and lipoprotein effects, do not provide evidence for choosing white over red meat for reducing CVD risk.”


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  1. J. David A.
    Springfield, MO

    There is no right answer to this question. The animal’s food determines whether it is safe to eat. Because the government regulators get the terrorist salmonella scare (by the Senators from ADM) when the subject of food quality starts scratching the surface, there is little information or protections for consumers. Your eyes can help; eggs and meat too white or chicken fat not yellow or solid at room temp would be something to never eat. Good pork and seafood also should have oils in liquid state when they come to room temp. In the MidWest, beef is about the only reliable choice in our stores – and I am concerned about what happens to these animals in the CAFO’s. We should demand better performance by regulators and producers.

  2. Tony

    I recently read an article that stated that red meat is bad for you because it contains a lot of Iron…[aka Ferritin. Taking the rationale further we find that women live longer than men maybe simply because they menstruate and shed their iron [Ferritin] monthly.

    The recommendation was for men and post-menopausal women to give blood every 3-4 months to reduce the amount of iron in their systems.

    I personally thought it was a very logical and interesting concept.

  3. Barbara F.

    This is interesting, but what about fish? Some of us limit intake of non-mammals, while some people prefer not to participate in the slaughter of any animals, for moral as well as health reasons.

  4. Linda
    Lewisville, TX

    All I can say is that I have basically given up beef, lamb, pork, fried foods, white flour, rice, pasta. If I have red meat, it is only a small 3-4 ounce serving of grass-fed beef, once a week, or bison, or fish. Avocados, tomatoes, basically all green vegetables are unlimited, and nuts. NO SUGAR. Ezekiel bread only, no more than 2 pieces per day. Best blood work received in 20 years received 2 days ago.

  5. Eleanor

    And the conclusion is based on 4 weeks of study on each diet with an intervening week of eating whatever they wanted.

    Valid conclusions after 4 weeks of data??????

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