I’m so excited to discuss this latest finding about red meat with you—and I mean, really excited.
Not just because we’re entering yet another summer of steaks and burgers on the grill.
But because this study confirms what I have known all along. And nothing thrills me quite like vindication—even when I know it probably won’t change a thing.
Nevertheless, get a load of this…
Comparing diet to heart disease risk factors
Apparently, a new randomized, controlled study—the gold standard of research—found that lean beef might have a place in a healthy diet after all. (Imagine that!)
Of course, I’ve been saying this for years. But somehow, we still live in a world where a lot of people think that eating red meat is bad for your heart. So any research that bucks that trend is considered to be “shocking”.
These researchers found that a Mediterranean diet, combined with small amounts of lean beef, actually helped lower heart disease risk factors like LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
The study compared the Standard American Diet (SAD)—typically high in red med—to three different variations of the Mediterranean diet—typically lower in red meat. Subjects followed their diet for four weeks each. The three variations of the Mediterranean diet featured 0.5 ounces, 2.5 ounces, or 5.5 ounces of red meat daily.
The researchers then measured the number and size of subjects’ lipoprotein particles—which carry cholesterol through your blood—using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR).
(This is crucial, and something that I measure in each of my patients. That’s because the research shows that LDL particle number has stronger links to heart disease than total blood levels of LDL cholesterol. I don’t use NMR though, just a simple blood test—which is something your doctor should be doing for you, too.)
Researchers also measured changes in apolipoproteins, specifically apoB, which are linked to elevated heart risk.
(Again, I don’t know why these measurements aren’t done as a matter of routine. We have plenty of blood tests to analyze these markers, but sadly, many of them are not covered by insurance and they tend to be expensive. Though surprisingly enough, Medicare does cover the costs.)
In the end, they found that everyone had lower LDL cholesterol eating a Mediterranean diet compared to the SAD. But total LDL particle numbers only dropped significantly when patients followed the diets featuring up to 2.5 ounces of beef per day.
In addition, non-HDL cholesterol and apoB were also lower when people followed any one of the Mediterranean diets, compared to the SAD.
Beef is a bona fide health food
What’s not to love about this?
We’re essentially talking about the basis of my Hamptons Diet and its successor, the A-List Diet. (I won’t be bitter about it though. Because at least we’re seeing research that finally makes sense. And if your friends, family, and doctors ever raise their eyebrows, go ahead and hand them this study.)
Not only that, but the researchers also went out on a limb to say that those studies that show that beef causes heart disease might be blaming meat consumption for the effects of other heart-harming lifestyle behaviors.
Not to mention, many of the studies on red meat also include processed red meats, which have a completely different nutrient profile (and tend to have nitrates, preservatives, and other harmful additives that impact results).
Obviously, this is a huge win for beef. But it’s far from the only reason to keep meat on your plate. (As long as it’s pasture-raised, grass-fed, and grass-finished, of course.)
People seem to forget that many important nutrients are found in beef, such as L-carnitine, which helps aid in fat metabolism. And CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which improves insulin sensitivity and promotes fat loss.
Beef is also high in minerals such as zinc, selenium, phosphorous and iron. And in vitamins like B12, B3, B6, B2 and B5. It’s also one of the few food sources of glutathione, the body’s super antioxidant. Plus, it’s high in protein, which helps build and retain muscle mass.
The bottom line: Beef is a bona fide health food. So go ahead and enjoy it as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
P.S. Even with this new study, misconceptions about what constitutes a healthy diet will always run deep in American medicine. That’s why I breakdown how to separate fact from fiction—in the great “steak and eggs” debate, specifically—in the March 2020 issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“The only ‘plant-based’ diet I recommend”). Not yet a subscriber? Click here to become one today!
“Mediterranean diet with lean beef may lower risk factors for heart disease.” Science Daily, 04/14/2021. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210414154915.htm)