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Is Beef the New Chicken in 2012

Posted by Joan Salge Blake  January 2, 2012 01:48 PM

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For all the beef lovers out there, the New Year has brings some good news.  A recent research study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown that a healthy diet containing lean beef was able to lower blood cholesterol levels in adults.  This study of individuals with high blood cholesterol levels showed that heart  healthy diets containing 4 to about 5.5 ounces of beef daily, lowered total cholesterol levels as well as the LDL "bad" cholesterol, by about 10 percent, on average.   The beef diets were designed to be heart healthy, rich in fruits and veggies, contained only lean dairy, and most importantly, had less than 30 percent calories from fat, 7 percent calories from saturated fat, and 200 milligrams of dietary cholesterol.

But before you start placing an order with your butcher for a prime rib, keep in mind that the cuts of beef used in the study were very lean: select grade top round and chuck shoulder pot roast and 95% lean ground beef.  (Note: the select grade is the leanest of all the grades of meat.  Tip:  Always choose "select" when buying meat for the leanest cut.)  Even the researchers of the study admit that following such a diet could be initially challenging to consumers as they would have to make sure that only lean cuts of beef are consumed and that the portion sizes are modest by American standards.

When it comes to eating beef, one of the best kept secrets is roast beef.  Lean roast beef is very low in calories, fat, and saturated fat, with a two-ounce serving providing as little as 80 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 1 gram of saturated fat.

Having a roast beef sandwich at lunch could be an easy way for you to enjoy the lean side of beef and keep your portions in check.  Since the roast beef will be sandwiched between two slices of bread (wholegrain, hopefully), it will be easier for you to keep to a modest 2-ounce portion, especially if you add layers of heart-healthy lettuce and tomatoes to "beef" it up. 

Who knows?  Since your occasional yen for beef will be satisfied at lunch, perhaps you could look to enjoying more heart-healthy fish and skinless chicken for dinner on a regular basis.

Happy New Year!
Originally published on the blog Nutrition and You!.
This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. Joan is the author of Nutrition &You, 2nd Edition, More »

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