WASHINGTON – Pennsylvania State Univ. researchers demonstrated, in a first-of-its-kind study, that eating lean beef daily as part of a heart-healthy diet can improve cholesterol levels. Richard Thorpe, Texas medical doctor and cattleman, said the Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) study proves lean beef tastes great plus plays a major role in a heart-healthy diet.

“The BOLD study is further proof Americans should feel good knowing the beef they enjoy eating and serving their loved ones is not only a nutrient-rich, satisfying food that provides 10 essential nutrients in about 150 calories, but is good for their heart health, as well,” said Thorpe on behalf of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Funded by the Beef Checkoff, the BOLD study will be published in the January issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Thirty-six men and women with moderately elevated cholesterol levels who consumed four diets for five weeks each were followed in the study to measure the impact of each diet on heart health risk factors, such as LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Included in the four diets evaluated were BOLD, which included an average of 4 oz. of beef per day; BOLD-PLUS, which had an average of 5.4 oz. of beef per day; the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which included an average of 1 oz. of beef per day; and the Healthy American Diet (HAD), which included an average of 0.7 oz. of beef per day.

Persons practicing the BOLD and BOLD-PLUS diets experienced a 10 percent decrease in LDL cholesterol since the start of the study. The study found after five weeks there were significant total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol reductions in the BOLD, BOLD-PLUS and DASH diets versus the HAD.

This research adds to existing evidence concluding there are heart-health benefits to including lean beef in one’s daily diet, said Shalene McNeill, PhD, RD, and executive director, human nutrition research for NCBA, which is a contractor for the Beef Checkoff. “The BOLD study provides strong evidence that including daily lean beef in the gold-standard DASH diet has heart-health benefits,” she added.

Because many recipes used in the BOLD study were from The Healthy Beef Cookbook, which includes a collection of healthy beef recipes, the BOLD and BOLD-PLUS diets are easy to follow, McNeill concluded.