A new study out of Perdue University suggests the inclusion of red meat in a Mediterranean Diet doesn’t reduce the well-known cardiovascular benefits. Researchers note, however, that the meat examined in this study was of a higher quality.
About 40 heart patients took part in this research. For the first five weeks of the study, scientists told people to eat a Mediterranean diet with three ounces of high-quality red meat every day. After these five weeks, participants returned to their standard non-Mediterranean diet. For the last five weeks of the study, everyone was told to eat a Mediterranean Diet with three ounces of red meat two times per week.
Researchers say they found no significant health advantages to eating less red meat while on the Mediterranean Diet. Indeed, both times study participants went on the Mediterranean Diet they experienced tremendous health benefits.
Perhaps the most interesting finding in this report was that LDL cholesterol dropped more when participants ate red meat every day versus twice per week. LDL cholesterol is often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol because it’s a key indicator of heart diseases.
Study authors say their research debunks the myth that too much lean red meat consumption is bad for heart health. Based on these findings, scientists claim people who add more red meat into a standard Mediterranean Diet should experience heart health benefits.
While there’s no standardized Mediterranean Diet, staples include olive oil, fresh fruits, and plenty of veggies. Some Mediterranean cultures eat more wild-caught fish while others tend to eat meats like lamb.
Lauren E. O’Connor, who recently received her doctorate from Perdue, was the lead author on this study. A few other key researchers include Drs. Wayne W. Campbell, Amy J. Wright, and Douglas Paddon-Jones.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published this article under the title, “A Mediterranean-style eating pattern with lean, unprocessed red meat has cardiometabolic benefits for adults who are overweight or obese in a randomized, crossover, controlled feeding trial.”