"Why are my cholesterol numbers up? I've been eating more chicken πŸ“and less beef πŸ„  to bring them down. That works, doesn't it?" -- Asks EVERYONE

Let me say this bluntly... No.

My rule: Foods that lower your cholesterol are both high in fiber and low in fat.

But, research has shown that there are some exceptions to this rule. In the rare instances that I have suggested to my clients that they include these so-called exceptions in their diets, they gain weight. And weight gain is rarely a welcomed event.

Neither chicken nor beef has any fiber. Fiber is a critical piece in lowering cholesterol. Fiber acts like a sponge and soaks up cholesterol. It's eliminated in waste.

Both chicken and beef contain a considerable amount of fat. Counting fat content in meat is nearly impossible, so trying to buy leaner meats doesn't work. There are so many variables that go into figuring out how much fat is in meat. For example, what is the cut of beef? What part of the chicken are we talking about? Was the animal male or female? Where did you buy your meat? How did you prepare it? Don't bother trying to calculate it.

All meat is a huge source of animal protein. I covered the dangers of eating animal protein

Many think that chicken is not meat and that it doesn't pose the same health risks as beef does. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In 2019, researchers studied whether chicken raised cholesterol as much as beef did. And indeed, they found that both chicken and beef raised cholesterol levels equally. So, switching from beef to chicken did not improve cholesterol levels. At all.

Incidentally, ALL meat is trouble. Whether your meat comes from a chicken or a cow – or a pig, lamb, deer, etc. -- all meat is a burden on the microbes that live in your gut. 

It doesn’t matter what kind of meat you eat. Meat contains carnitine and choline, compounds that are inflammatory and disastrous. The microbes in your gut use carnitine and choline to make trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO). TMAO ramps up cholesterol production AND sends fat right into your artery walls. This builds plaque in your arteries and increases your risk of heart attack or stroke. 

Just the other day, someone told me that she ate chicken 5 days a week. She thought she was doing the right thing. "We never eat meat," she said. YIKES! 

Sure, you can take statins to lower your cholesterol. But these can have serious side effects—joint pain, elevated blood sugar, sleep problems, low blood cell count, etc.

Or, you could switch out your chicken for chickpeas and other plant sources of protein. 

Beans, lentils, whole grains, and vegetables πŸ₯•πŸ₯¦πŸ₯” have plenty of safe, clean, cholesterol-lowering protein. These foods are also rich in fiber and low in fat. Both slim you down and help reduce your cholesterol, your blood sugar, and your blood pressure.

How's that for side-effects? Wink wink.

Bergeron N, Chiu S, Williams PT, M King S, Krauss RM. Effects of red meat, white meat, and non-meat protein sources on atherogenic lipoprotein measures in the context of low compared with high saturated fat intake: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2019 Jul 1;110(1):24-33. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqz035. Erratum in: Am J Clin Nutr. 2019 Sep 1;110(3):783. PMID: 31161217; PMCID: PMC6599736.
Gilsing A., Matty P. Weijenberg, Laura A.E. Hughes, Ton Ambergen, Pieter C. Dagnelie, R. Alexandra Goldbohm, Piet A. van den Brandt, Leo J. Schouten. Longitudinal Changes in BMI in Older Adults Are Associated with Meat Consumption Differentially, by Type of Meat Consumed123, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 142, Issue 2, 2012, Pages 340-349, ISSN 0022-3166, https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.111.146258.

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  1. Really GREAT article!! xoxo
  2. Great post, Peggy! So many people fail to realize that chicken (and fish) have as much cholesterol as beef! Glad you addressed this issue :)
  3. Interesting reading.
    Loved the oatmeal recipe

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