Is Eating Red Meat Good or Bad for Your Health?
Pro: May protect your heart
When 36 people with high cholesterol following a diet of mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes ate 4 to 5.5 ounces of lean beef a day, they lowered their “bad” LDL cholesterol by about 10 percent, writes researcher Michael Roussell, Ph.D., in the January 2012 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. What’s more, the fat content—called triglycerides—inside their HDL particles decreased, which may help HDL particles to better scavenge excess cholesterol and carry it out of the bloodstream. Roussell attributes his findings to beef’s unique fat profile. Beef contains two fats—stearic acid, a saturated fat, and oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat (found in olive oil)—that have been shown to help improve cholesterol levels. However, beef also contains other kinds of saturated fat—like palmitic acid and myristic acid—that raise cholesterol.