Living with Heart Disease (and Beef!) By Kaitlin Anderson, RD, LD

February 27th, 2013 · No Comments

As a supermarket dietitian, I meet newly-diagnosed patients with heart disease on a regular basis.  My job is to assist them in their grocery shopping and answer all their questions about how specific foods affect heart health.  When we walk up to the meat case, I oftentimes hear the customer say, “Don’t worry, I already know that I have to choose chicken or fish instead of beef.”  Not so fast—beef isn’t off limits!

A recent study at Penn State discovered that lean beef can fit in a heart-healthy diet.  The Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) clinical study found that participants could eat four ounces of lean beef every day and still lower their cholesterol levels.  This is exciting news for people living with heart disease.

Before you run off and fill your cart with T-bone steaks and 80/20 ground beef, keep these important points in mind:

  • Focus on lean beef.  Beef is a source of saturated fat, so it’s important to understand how to choose lean cuts.  Some examples of lean beef include sirloin steak, round roast and 96/4 ground beef.  When you are standing in front of the meat case, look for words like loin or round to point you toward the leanest cuts.  Otherwise, pay attention to marbling in the meat as an indication of fat content.  Note: The USDA defines lean as less than ten grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per three-ounce serving. 
  • Practice portion control.  Follow the MyPlate guidelines to plan a healthy, balanced meal: one-fourth protein, one-fourth grains, half fruits and vegetables and a serving of low-fat dairy on the side.  For example, a steak dinner would include a 4-ounce sirloin steak, whole-grain dinner roll, spinach-berry salad and a glass of skim milk. 

Click here for more information about the BOLD study.                                                       

Kaitlin Anderson, RD, LD is a registered dietitian at Hy-Vee North in Rochester. 

This information is not intended as medical advice.  Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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