Turning conventional wisdom on its head, researchers have found that consuming red meat and white meat, like poultry, have equal effects on blood cholesterol levels.
The study indicated that restricting consumption of meat altogether, whether red or white, is more advisable for lowering blood cholesterol levels than previously thought.
The research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that consumption of high amount of red meat or white poultry resulted in higher blood cholesterol levels than consuming a comparable amount of plant proteins.
“When we planned this study, we expected red meat to have more adverse effect on blood cholesterol levels than white meat. 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 did not include grass-fed beef or processed products like bacon or sausage; nor did it include fish. The study also found that plant proteins were the healthiest for blood cholesterol.
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 consumption of poultry as a healthier alternative to red meat.
But there had been no comprehensive comparison of the effects of red meat, white meat and non-meat proteins on blood cholesterol until now, Krauss said. Non-meat proteins like vegetables, dairy, and legumes such as beans, show the best cholesterol benefit, he said. (IANS)
Want to live longer? Take a note. Health and lifestyle researchers have found that eating more protein from plant sources or dairy while reducing red meat consumption could help people live longer.
Higher percentage of calories from plant protein in the diet is tied to lower risk of death, the study said.
“Our findings suggest that even partial replacement of red meat with healthy, plant-based sources of protein could substantially reduce rates of coronary heart disease in the US,” said the study’s lead author Laila Al-Shaar from Harvard University. The study was presented in a meeting at the ‘American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention, Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2020’ in the US.
According to the researchers, in the study of more than 37,000 Americans with an average age of 50, those who ate the most plant protein were 27 per cent less likely to die of any cause and 29 per cent less likely to die of coronary heart disease, compared to people who ate the least amount of plant protein.
Keeping the number of calories the participants ate consistent, the researchers were able to estimate the amount of plant protein compared to animal protein people in the study ate and compare it to the risk of dying.
They found that replacing 5 per cent of daily calories from total animal protein with the equivalent number of calories of plant protein was linked to a nearly 50 per cent decrease in the risk of dying of any cause including coronary heart disease.
The study also revealed that replacing two per cent of daily calories from processed meat protein with an equivalent number of calories from plant protein was associated with a 32 per cent lower risk of death. Diet substitutions for red meat linked to lower heart disease risk, it added.
According to the research, substituting one serving per day of red or processed red meat with foods, such as nuts, legumes, whole grains or dairy, was associated with up to a 47 per cent lower risk of having coronary heart disease in men.
“It isn’t enough just to avoid red meat – it’s also about what you choose to eat in place of red meat. Healthy plant proteins like nuts, legumes and whole grains contain more than just protein – they include other beneficial nutrients such as healthy fats, antioxidant vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (compounds derived from plants), which have been associated with lower risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers,” said researcher Zhilei Shan. (IANS)
If you want to live longer, read this carefully. Researchers have found that eating two servings of red meat, processed meat or poultry — but not fish — per week was linked to a three to seven per cent higher risk of cardiovascular disease and three per cent higher risk of all causes of death.
After a controversial study last fall recommending that it was not necessary for people to change their diet in terms of red meat and processed meat, a large analyzed new study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, links red and processed meat consumption with a slightly higher risk of heart disease and death.
“It’s a small difference, but it’s worth trying to reduce red meat and processed meat like pepperoni, bologna and deli meats. Red meat consumption also is consistently linked to other health problems like cancer,” said study senior author Norrina Allen from Northwestern University in the US.
The new study pooled together a large diverse sample from six cohorts, included long follow-up data up to three decades, harmonized diet data to reduce heterogeneity, adjusted a comprehensive set of confounders and conducted multiple sensitivity analyses.
The study included 29,682 participants (mean age of 53.7 years at baseline, 44.4 per cent men and 30.7 per cent non-white).
According to the researchers, diet data were self-reported by participants, who were asked a long list of what they ate for the previous year or month. The study found three to seven per cent higher risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death for people who ate red meat and processed meat two servings a week.
A four per cent higher risk of cardiovascular disease for people who ate two servings per week of poultry, but the evidence so far is not sufficient to make a clear recommendation about poultry intake.
And the relationship may be related to the method of cooking the chicken and consumption of the skin rather than the chicken meat itself, the study said. Researchers found no association between eating fish and cardiovascular disease or mortality.
Fried chicken, especially deep fat-fried sources that contribute trans-fatty acids, and fried fish intake have been positively linked to chronic diseases, according to the study.
“Modifying intake of these animal protein foods may be an important strategy to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death at a population level,” said study lead author Victor Zhong. (IANS)
Some good health news: Americans’ cholesterol levels are dropping, and more people at especially high risk are getting treatment.
Researchers say Monday’s report suggests a controversial change in recommendations for cholesterol treatment may be starting to pay off.
“It is very heartening,” said Dr. Pankaj Arora of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who led the study. “But there is more to do.”
Heart disease is the world’s leading killer and high cholesterol is a key risk factor — but not the only one. Doctors long treated patients based mostly on their level of so-called “bad” cholesterol, whether they had other risks or not. In 2013, national guidelines urged them instead to focus more on people’s overall heart risk, by taking into account age, blood pressure, diabetes and other factors. Those at highest risk would get the most benefit from cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.
The Alabama team examined records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that tracked cholesterol information from more than 32,000 adults between 2005 and 2016.
Among people taking cholesterol medication, the average level of that “bad” cholesterol — what’s known as LDL cholesterol — dropped 21 points over the study period, the researchers reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. It was declining even before the 2013 guidelines but continued to inch down afterward.
Total cholesterol levels and another fat known as triglycerides likewise decreased.
“These are surprisingly impressive results” that together predict a 15% to 20% reduction in risk of heart attacks and strokes, said Dr. Michael Miller, preventive cardiology chief at the University of Maryland Medical Center, who wasn’t involved with the study.
Moreover, there was an uptick in statin use by people with diabetes over the study period, from less than half to over 60% getting one. Diabetics are particularly vulnerable to heart attacks and tend to have poorer outcomes.
“It’s very important for those with a diagnosis of diabetes to not get that first heart attack,” said Dr. Neil J. Stone, a cardiologist at Northwestern University. He led development of the 2013 guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association, and he co-authored an update last year.
Arora cautioned that other high-risk groups haven’t seen an increase in treatment — and that still too many Americans don’t know if they have a cholesterol problem.
The advice for consumers? If you haven’t had a cholesterol check recently, get one, Miller said.
Testing is easier than ever, as fasting no longer is required. Especially if you have additional risk factors, high cholesterol should spark a frank conversation about diet, exercise, and the pros and cons of statins. (VOA)