White meat or red meat? The choice, if dictated by the need to limit the increase in blood cholesterol, could be indifferent. In a somewhat unexpected way compared to what has been previously believed, the impact of a chicken breast or one Beef steak does not affect the increase in blood cholesterol that much. However, it must be borne in mind that in order to keep blood cholesterol levels within certain limits it is important to limit the consumption of saturated fats (mainly contained in animal products) and trans fats (sometimes present in industrial products and in fried foods). Exercising regularly can help, however, the massive presence of cholesterol in the blood is often due to genetic causes.


The considerations emerge from a study published in the medical journal “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition”, in which the researchers compared the impact on cholesterol deriving from the choice of different protein sources: of animal or vegetable origin, distinguishing between red and white meats. To reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, both among the healthy people and among those already victims of a heart attack, one of the first recommendations is to reduce the intake of saturated fat through the diet. Fats that derive almost exclusively from the consumption of processed foods and of animal origin: meats, milk, eggs e cheeses. Research has shown that for the same amount of fat consumed, the impact on cholesterol does not seem to depend on the type of meat you choose.

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The researchers came to these conclusions after dividing just over one hundred men and women (21-65 years) into two groups, which were asked to follow each time three types of calibrated diets (of monthly duration). The eating patterns proposed foresaw a reduced intake of carbohydrates offset by an increase in proteins. The first diet considered red meat as the only source of protein supply, the second only white meat and the third exclusively vegetable sources. From this experiment it emerged that regardless of the quantity of the latter, the type of meat chosen did not have a different impact on the lipid profile of each individual. On the other hand, the increases in Ldl cholesterol and of that total during periods spent without meat.

Raw or cooked meat?

Cooking meat pays off safer food from a hygienic point of view. In addition it softens and becomes more digestible. Always provided that the cooking is not prolonged as in the case of boiled meat. If the meat acquires greater hygienic safety, however, it loses a percentage of its vitamins, which are thermolabile, and mineral salts.

To consume raw meat, like carpaccio and tartare, has the advantage of keep its nutritional properties almost intact, but it reduces its digestibility and increases the risk of food contamination.

The marinated meat with lemon juice, vinegar or wine, can promote the absorption of iron. The marinade, in addition to making our dish more palatable, reduces the harmful effect of carcinogenic substances produced during cooking that is too long, especially on the grill.

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