Home HEALTH White meat can raise cholesterol as much as red meat

White meat can raise cholesterol as much as red meat

WHITE meat, such as chicken, may raise blood cholesterol levels as much as red meat does, a new, small study details. The finding surprised researchers, who didn’t expect that eating large amounts of poultry would lead to higher blood cholesterol levels. Of the three diets in the study — red meat, white meat and nonmeat proteins — only the plantbased diet was associated with healthy blood cholesterol levels, the researchers found.
“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. “Their effects on cholesterol are identical when saturated fat levels are equivalent.”
In the study, called the APPROACH — Animal and Plant Protein and Cardiovascular Health — trial, researchers looked at 113 healthy people, who were randomly assigned to a diet that was either high or low in saturated fat. All the participants refrained from taking vitamin supplements and drinking alcohol during the study. Then, participants in both groups cycled through three different diets: a red meat (primarily beef) diet, a white meat (mainly chicken and turkey) diet, and a non-meat protein (legumes, nuts, grains and soy products) diet, with each diet period lasting four weeks. Between each diet period, the individuals had a “washout period,” during which they ate their regular foods. In addition, the participants had blood tests at the start and finish of each new diet.
The results showed that while participants in the high saturated fat group had more total and LDL cholesterol levels than people in the low saturated fat group, both red and white meat raised LDL levels, regardless of how much saturated fat was in the diet.
In other words, white and red meats had the same effects on blood cholesterol levels, the researchers found. Saturated fats occur naturally in foods such as fatty beef, poultry with skin, butter and cream and cheeses, according to the American Heart Association. Too much LDL cholesterol from saturated fats can build up in a person’s blood vessels, causing plaque and increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The team also looked at LDL particles of different sizes. (LDL, or low density lipoproteins, are also known as “bad” cholesterol.).