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Editor's Correspondence
February 14, 2000

The Lipid-Lowering Effect of Lean Meat Diets Falls Far Short of That of Vegetarian Diets

Arch Intern Med. 2000;160(3):393-394. doi:

The findings of Davidson et al1 support their conclusion that "free-living persons can effectively incorporate lean red meats into their diets ... without compromising the lipid-lowering benefits of the diet" only if one concedes that such diets, in fact, have virtually no lipid-lowering effect at all.

The reduction in serum cholesterol concentration of the group consuming "lean" red meat, 1% during the 36-week intervention, did not reach statistical significance (P = .07). The basis for the study's conclusion, stated above, was that the white meat diet yielded similarly dismal results, with only a 1.8% reduction of total serum cholesterol (P = .003). The investigators explain this poor result by noting that many subjects were already following a fat-modified diet at baseline. However, those who were not deemed compliant at baseline achieved only a 1.6% reduction in total cholesterol while following the "lean" red meat diet.

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