Monday, April 30, 2012

Beef for my heart and chili for my soul

I made chili last night, and it was great-tasting and so very good for me. You may have heard of a recent study publication, “Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) study: effects on lipids, lipoproteins, and apolipids." I'll explain that study after a quick cooking lesson.
First, it is my pleasure to introduce you to the “Julia Child” of authentic Mexican fare, Diana Kennedy. Her book is a culinary tour of Mexico, and it’s fabulous. 
I based my meal on her “Carne en Chile Colorado” recipe and put together the following ingredients:
  • ·         14 – 16 Dried Mexican chile peppers, caps removed…I play around with combinations of New Mexico, Cascabel, Arbol, Ancho peppers. Here are the little spicy Arbol peppers next to the larger, milder Cascabel peppers.
  • ·         1 tsp cumin
  • ·         1 tsp oregano
  • ·         2 cloves of garlic
  • ·         3 lbs lean ground beef
  • ·         1/8 cup (2 TB) canola oil
  • ·         2 tsp salt (not pictured)
I threw all the ingredients except for the salt, oil, and beef into a pot. I poured in water until all the ingredients were covered.
I let this simmer for 10 minutes and then blended the hot mixture, water and all, into a fine pasty liquid. (Don’t fill more than 1/3 of the blender at a time! Note the splatter. I hope you do as I say, not as I do!).
Pour the oil, salt, and meat into the pot which contained the pepper mixture. Completely brown the meat over medium heat.
When meat is browned, mix in the chile pepper liquid. This can all simmer together for another 20 minutes, or until liquids have reduced down to a proper-looking chili. 
Back to the study that makes this chili legit: Four diets were assigned to 36 people with high cholesterol problems who consumed them for 5 weeks at a time, with a normalization period of one week between diet changes. Across the four diets, total calories were kept constant. The three diets containing beef had similar total fat, saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and cholesterol to one another. The other diet, (Healthy American Diet, or HAD) only contained white meat and was higher in the following: total fat, saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and also cholesterol. The HAD diet also had lower fiber than the beef-containing diets.

The diet makeup was as follows:
1.       Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Included low-fat or non-fat dairy products, less oil and butter, high fruits and vegetables (3 – 4 servings of each) and more whole grains than the HAD diet. It also replaced 28 g of the protein with 95% lean beef/day. Total cholesterol and LDL concentrations decreased by 49 and 37%, respectively.
2.       Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) Same diet as above except it replaced the protein with 113 g beef/d. Total cholesterol and LDL concentrations decreased by 48 and 35%, respectively.
3.       Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD +) Same diet as above, with 113 g beef replacing other protein sources, plus additional protein to replace carbohydrates (40 g).  Total cholesterol and LDL concentrations decreased by 49 and 35%, respectively.
4.       Healthy American Diet (HAD) Contained full-fat cheese and dairy products, more oil and butter, refined grains, rich in fruit, vegetables (3 servings of each), and lean WHITE meats. This diet reduced total cholesterol and LDL concentrations by 22% and 14%, respectively.

Here is the nutritive makeup of each diet:

These are the food components of each diet:

The article points out a consistent factor with a previous study conducted by Beauchesen-Rondeau et al (2003, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) that when lean beef (containing less saturated fat) is substituted for white meat (containing more saturated fat), LDL decreases. Confirming a factor (reduced saturated fat) that decreases bad cholesterol is a triumph here!

As much as I am a beef enthusiast, I take care to note that this study highlights the reduction of saturated fat, not the addition of beef, as an agent to lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Lean beef just plays a significant role in this because it is lower in saturated fat than many white meats. This study proves that lean beef IS an alternative low saturated fat protein source that will lower cholesterol. Lean beef is equal to fish, lean pork, and lean chicken for its cholesterol-lowering awesome is that, since the American Heart Association used to say avoid red meat to lower cholesterol! 

Additionally, the potential cholesterol-lowering increase of fiber in the beef-containing diets deserves attention, as none was given in the Discussion portion. Refer back to “Eat your Vegetables!” for more information on how fiber can lower cholesterol.

Remember also that dairy fat is mostly saturated! When I lived in in Spain, I ate a lot of amazing cheeses, fatty sausages, chocolate, churros, fresh butter and cream…my total cholesterol ended up being over 200 when I got back to the U.S…yikes! Lowering dairy fat in your diet can decrease cholesterol. 

What do you Think?


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