Red Meat and Lipids

by Carolyn Matthews

I visited the American Heart Association website recently and it recommends getting 5 to 7% of our daily caloric intake from saturated fat. This would be the equivalent of a 1 oz cube of cheese.

This perspective perpetuates the idea that saturated fat in the diet leads to high cholesterol, which leads to heart disease. A large review published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2014 found no link between dietary saturated fat and heart disease. In 2016, researchers reviewed data from over 40 countries and concluded that there was no link between red meat and heart disease.

The problem is not red meat; it’s the high glycemic carbohydrates: rice, bread, cereals, flours, pastries, and potatoes. These are the foods that are most likely to be associated with elevated cholesterol. I was just reading that 25% of all Americans are on statins now. Prior to exposing ourselves to the risks of statins, why not start with a radical change in our diets?

Carolyn M. Matthews, MD; Director of Integrative and Functional Medicine, Baylor University Medical Center