You probably saw the headlines, like this one from CNN: white meat raises your bad cholesterol just as much as red meat! It’s complete nonsense. Here’s why. Transcript is below.
Hello, I’m Tom Naughton and this is the Fat Head Report.
Believe it or not, it’s already time for another edition of Meat Will Kill You.
For more than 40 years, the experts have been telling us that to avoid heart disease, we should eat less beef and more chicken. And we did.
Well, now that they’ve decided we should all be vegetarians — to save the planet you know — it was only a matter of time before they started going after chicken.
Take a look at this headline. White meat is just as bad for you as red beef when it comes to your cholesterol level, study says.
The article is about a study where researchers put people on a diet that was either high or low in saturated fat, then had them take turns eating a diet where the proteins came from plants, or chicken, or beef.
And here’s what they found.
Plant proteins had the healthiest impact on blood cholesterol, while the effects of white and red meats on participants’ cholesterol levels were identical when saturated fat levels were equivalent.
Now wait a second. Beef is much higher in saturated fat than chicken. So how do you get people eating chicken to consume as much saturated fat as people eating beef?
Well, it turns out the researchers kept the saturated fat and the same by adding butter. It’s right there in the study. The diet based on chicken included more butter.
Which means this study doesn’t tell us anything about chicken. It simply tells us that saturated fat raises LDL. Doesn’t matter if the saturated fat comes from beef or butter.
Ahh, yes, it’s scary stuff. So the real message is to avoid beef and butter, right? Wrong.
You don’t develop heart disease because your body makes too much LDL. You develop heart disease because your body makes the wrong kind of LDL.
When your coronary arteries become damaged or inflamed, LDL shows up to repair the damage. But if your body is producing LDL that’s small and dense, then those particles can become embedded in your arteries and trigger the formation of a plaque.
Here are a couple of quotes from studies on LDL particle size and heart disease:
LDL particles showed the strongest association with cardiovascular events when the particle composition, rather than the total concentration, was investigated.
The LDL subclass pattern characterized by a preponderance of small, dense LDL particles was significantly associated with a threefold increased risk of myocardial infarction.
Large, fluffy LDL isn’t the kind that becomes embedded in your arteries. In fact, large LDL not only won’t kill you, it appears to be protective.
People who produce a lot of large LDL are less likely to develop cancer. They’re less likely to become depressed. They’re less likely to come down with nasty infections.
And that’s why a number of studies have shown that older people with high LDL Live longer than older people with low LDL.
So with that in mind, let’s go back to that study telling us that white meat is just as bad as red meat.
Yes, when people ate beef, or chicken with butter, their LDL went up. But that’s because they produced more large LDL. They did not produce more small LDL. It’s right there in the study.
So for me, the real take away message from the latest Meat Will Kill You study is this. If you like beef, go ahead and eat it. And if you’d rather have chicken, add some butter.