In the world of media, it’s always the titillating bit of news that draws an audience. Even if all the facts are not “present”, the media jumps on stories and then propels them into the vast unknown, to be consumed by listeners and taken as truth.

In the world of beef and nutrition, there has been a hotbed of “studies” that seem to implicate beef, asserting that beef and good health are not interchangeable. However, the best HEALTH NEWS on the horizon is a study that the media thus far has not acknowledged. Conducted by Penn State University, it’s called the BOLD study, and its findings are far more positive than those who rail against beef want to admit.

It’s a scientific study — as a result of numerous blood tests/panels/assays — and its conclusions attest to the FACT that BEEF can contribute to a HEART-healthy diet. In fact, put quite simply, beef is good nutrition.

As reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 36 hypercholseterolemic participants were randomly assigned to consume each of four outlined diets, including the Healthy American Diet (HAD); the DASH diet, considered to be the gold standard for heart patients; the BOLD diet; and the BOLD + diet. Subjects were randomly assigned to the four groups; each individual consumed all four diets, for 5 weeks each. A short break separated the diet periods. At the beginning of each diet period and at the end, they completed a series of clinical and physical assessments, including blood draw). The assays were conducted at the core endocrine laboratory at the MS Hershey Medical Center General Clinical Research Center.

The first participants began the study in September 2007; the last participant completed the study in March 2009. This was the FIRST CONTROLLED consumption study that showed an increase in lean-beef consumption while controlling SFA (6% calories) in the context of heart-healthy diet.

The results were promising! According to the study, “Low-SFA, heart-healthy dietary patterns that contain lean beef elicit favorable effects on cardiovascular disease (CVD) lipid and
lipoprotein risk factors that are comparable to those elicited by a DASH dietary pattern. These results, in conjunction with the beneficial effects on apolipoprotein CVD risk factors after consumption of the BOLD and BOLD+ diets, which were greater with the BOLD+ diet, provide support for including lean beef in a heart-healthy dietary pattern. This trial was
registered at as NCT00937898. Am J Clin Nutr 2012;95:9–16.”

Clearly, heart-healthy dietary patterns that contained lean beef elicited favorable effects on cardiovascular disease, comparable to those reported with the DASH diet. Total Cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol were significantly decreased with each of the DASH, BOLD, and BOLD + diets — but not the HAD (Healthy American Diet).

According to the study, “Compared with the HAD, LDL cholesterol was significantly decreased by 5.5%, 4.7%, and 4.4% by the DASH, BOLD, and BOLD + diets. Total Cholesterol was decreased by 3.8%, 3.8%, and 4.6% (respectively), by the DASH, BOLD, and BOLD + diets.”
Moreover, “In conclusion, the inclusion of lean beef (113 g/d) or the partial replacement of carbohydrates with protein (including lean beef) in a low-SFA, DASH-like diet significantly decreased TC and LDL cholesterol compared with in a HAD. These reductions were
similar in magnitude to those observed for the DASH diet. The results of the BOLD study provide convincing evidence that lean beef can be included in a heart-healthy diet that meets current dietary recommendations and reduces CVD risk.”

And when selecting beef to cook, it’s important to realize that 17 of the most popular cuts are 17 of the 29 LEAN cuts of beef, which means they are heart-healthy. Since beef is such a nutrient dense food, with 10 essential minerals/nutrients, it’s hard to imagine that anyone has to think they should eliminate beef.

A 3 ounce serving of lean beef = 154 calories. To equal that 154 calorie intake of zinc, an individual would have to eat SIX (6) chicken breasts. To equal that 154 calorie intake of B12, a person would have to eat SEVEN and A HALF (7 1/2) chicken breasts! And to get the equal of 154 calorie intake of iron, a person would have to eat THREE (3) chicken breasts!

Today’s leaner beef, now has:
less than 10.9 grams of total fat;
less than or equal to 4.5 grams of saturated fat;
less than 95 mg. cholesterol.

In addition:
More than half of beef’s fatty acids are monosaturated fats (“good fat” = to fat in olive oil/salmon/flax seed);
1/3 of beef’s saturated fatty acid is stearic acid, a NEUTRAL saturated fat = has a negative effect on cholesterol;
Beef contains CLA, which has been found to have ANTI-CANCER fighting attributes.

For more on this report:
Received March 29, 2011. Accepted for publication October 17, 2011.
First published online December 14, 2011; doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.016261.
Am J Clin Nutr 2012;95:9–16. Printed in USA. 2012 American Society for Nutrition

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