A new study has shown that lean meat, when consumed as part of a healthy diet, does not increase the risk of type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular risk.
When it comes to proving the health risk of eating too much red meat, all scientific studies come to a similar conclusion: eating beef too often is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases such like eggs and processed meats.
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New research conducted by the School of Public Health at Indiana University in collaboration with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) adds some nuances to this statement. They show that lean meat, when consumed as part of a healthy diet, does not increase the risk of diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
Lower risk of atherosclerosis
According to the authors of this new study, which was conducted on 33 participants considered at risk for type 2 diabetes, the consumption of 150 g of lean meat instead of carbohydrates or refined starch as part of a healthy diet is not harmful to health.
“Most metabolic and cardiovascular health indicators, such as sensitivity to insulin and LDL cholesterol, did not differ between the two diets,” says Kevin C. Maki, who led the work. The only significant difference from the control group was the greater presence of LDL cholesterol whose function is to transport cholesterol from the blood to cells.
According to the authors of the study, when extra lean meat is consumed, the LDL particles are “larger and more likely to float” and therefore less likely to promote atherosclerosis.
“This study is important because it shows that red meat can be part of a healthy eating pattern,” says Dr. Maki. It showed that increasing consumption of lean meat as a substitute for refined starch in a healthy diet has not aggravated the risk factors of cardiometabolic disease”.
However, she says: “While this research is important for those who choose to include red meat in a healthy diet, we do not encourage people to increase their consumption of red meat, nor do we advocate that those who would otherwise become vegetarians start eating red meat.
Every year, almost 34,000 deaths worldwide are attributed to a diet rich in meats according to the world health organization (WHO).