Shalene McNeill: July 25, 2018


New Study Finds Including Lean Beef in a Mediterranean-Style Diet Supports Heart Health



Shalene McNeill, Ph.D., R.D.

executive director of nutrition research for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff


Research recently released by Purdue University found that following a Mediterranean-style diet that includes lean, fresh red meats like lean, fresh beef is just as effective in supporting a healthy heart as a Mediterranean-style diet that limits red meats. This new research study adds to the growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating that lean beef can be part of healthy eating patterns to support heart health and increase flexibility for healthy eating.

Specific findings from the new research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, include:

  • Following a Mediterranean-style eating pattern including 7 to 18 ounces of lean, fresh red meat per week was shown to improve cardiometabolic disease risk factor profiles. Fresh meats were defined in the study as requiring no further preservation or processing beyond refrigeration or freezing; they are not cured, salted or smoked or include chemical preservatives.
  • Including 18 ounces of lean, fresh red meat per week as part of a Mediterranean-style dietary pattern was found to be more effective in lowering LDL cholesterol than a similar eating pattern that only included 7 ounces of lean, fresh red meat. The average American consumes 18 ounces of red meat per week.
  • Study participants following a Mediterranean-style dietary pattern including up to 18 ounces of lean, fresh red meat per week saw reductions in total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and blood pressure.

For 10 weeks, participants—all overweight or obese Americans ages 30 through 69—followed a Mediterranean diet that included lean, fresh red meat. One group consumed about 2-3 servings of red meat every week, per American Heart Association recommendations, while another doubled their intake to 5-6 servings per week.  Despite the differences in red meat consumption, both groups experienced lowered cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as cholesterol and high blood pressure.

On Wednesday, July 25th, Shalene McNeill, executive director of the NCBA is available to you and your listeners to discuss the study’s findings and provide tips on making healthier food choices.

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More About Shalene McNeill:

As Executive Director of Nutrition Research at the NCBA, a contractor to the beef checkoff, Shalene leads the strategic development, execution and dissemination of a human nutrition research plan on behalf of America’s farmers and ranchers. She also provides strategic nutrition counsel, technical and content expertise internally and externally and serves as the primary nutrition spokesperson.

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