The BOLD study (Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet) was conducted with adult men and women with elevated total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol (LDL levels ranged from 110 to 177 milligrams) with different diets prepared in a test kitchen (that means it was a well-controlled diet study). None of the study participants were on cholesterol-lowering medications. The diets studied included the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension) which contained only 1 ounce of beef a day and the BOLD and BOLD plus diets contained 4 and 5 ounces of lean beef, respectively.
Weight remained constant during the study (losing weight in itself can lower blood lipid levels so monitoring weight was a positive aspect of this study) and researchers found about a 5% reduction in LDL-cholesterol when the BOLD and BOLD plus diets were consumed, similar to the DASH diet. Researchers also noted that a marker of inflammation (CRP) was lower in those who had the highest levels of blood cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol.
The take away from this study is that lean beef can be part of a heart-healthy diet. While there are 29 cuts of lean beef that meet the criteria for lean meat, the study authors note that most grocery stores carry top loin and top round steak, top sirloin bottom round roast and 95% lean ground beef.
There is another good reason to include lean beef in your diet…a 4-ounce serving is an excellent source of the nutrients that are often low in the diets of the 50+ population: protein, B-vitamins niacin, B6 and B12 and minerals zinc and selenium. It is also a good source of choline, phosphorus, and iron. Beef is nutrient rich and many cuts of beef are 20% leaner than 15 years ago, according to the USDA.
It is important to keep portions moderate (4-5 ounces). Good ways to incorporate lean beef in your diet is by making kabobs with plenty of veggies, slicing lean grilled meat over a salad, and whipping up a stir-fry dish. Lean ground beef can be used as patties, meatloaf, and meatballs or as pizza topping or in pasta sauces. To further reduce the fat in ground beef, check out these tips at http://www.beefnutrition.org/cmdocs/beefnutrition/reducingfatincookedgroundbeef.pdf