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. The study found that plant proteins are the healthiest for blood cholesterol.
"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. "I don't want people to get too focused on an all-or-nothing approach", said Ronald Krauss, the study's lead author.
The Animal and Plant Protein and Cardiovascular Health trial showed eating a heavy diet of red meat or white meat led to higher blood cholesterol levels for the consumer than eating the same amount of plant proteins. Either of these factors could have made the comparison more favourable for white meat.
Consumption of red meat has become unpopular during the last few decades over concerns about its association with increased heart disease.
Conventional wisdom says to eat white meat and shun the red.
Often associated with contributing to "bad" cholesterol levels, red meat consumption is generally recommended in moderation, while white meat, which is generally leaner, is usually considered a healthier alternative.
The bottom line is red and white meats are equal in dietary terms - lean poultry is the same as lean beef when it comes to cholesterol. The hospitals are affiliated with University of California, San Francisco, whose schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry and Nursing are among the nation's leaders in graduate-level health science education, as well as research grants from the National Institutes of Health.
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