Posted 7/9/2012 by UNMC Physicians
Cardiologist Thomas Sears, MD, explains the importance of balancing your diet and managing how much beef you eat.
The aroma of burgers and steak cooking on the grill is as synonymous with summer as sweltering heat, fireworks and swimming pools.
But can too much of a good thing be bad for you? How much beef in your diet is too much?
There are a number of cuts of beef that clearly have the highest fat content, where fish and fowl have a much lower fat content. The most damaging of the fat from meat is saturated fat, and ground beef can be a major culprit.
“Any time you have ground beef, it’s going to be very high in fat,” said cardiologist Thomas Sears, MD, the Heart Center. “There’s really no such thing as low-fat ground beef.”
The saturated fat can have the greatest effect on people with a history of high cholesterol and who are at risk for cardiovascular events such as a heart attack.
Sears suggests people who are susceptible to high cholesterol should switch to a low-fat diet.
“If you have cholesterol problems or had a cardiac event of some sort, and you need to monitor your cholesterol, then you should only rarely eat ground beef,” Sears said.
However, it doesn’t mean people have to completely give up beef.
“If they like beef, I always suggest they eat the lower-fat cuts of beef such as fillets, trimmed sirloin or cuts of meat from the shoulder, such as the flat iron,” Sears said.
For people on a low-fat diet, physicians such as Sears recommend a figure of the amount of fat the person can consume in a day, such as 40 to 50 grams, with less than 15 grams of it being saturated fat.
Fat from the meat is converted into energy for the body; it is also converted into cholesterol.
The “good” cholesterol is high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and the “bad” cholesterol is low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
Too much LDL can result in the narrowing of the coronary artery, which could cause blood clots to form and potentially lead to a heart attack.
Whenever eating beef, such as steak, Sears recommends a person eat no more than about five ounces per day.
“You’ll notice when you go into a restaurant about the smallest piece of meat you can order is 6 ounces, with most of them eight to 12 ounces,” he said. “If that’s the case, I suggest order the steak and cut it in half and take the leftovers home to utilize it the next day in a salad perhaps.”
Before chomping on that next burger or cutting into the juicy prime rib, consider the following: how much fat is in the beef, what is the portion size and do you have a family history of high cholesterol or cardiovascular issues.
“If you reduce your overall intake by keeping track of it, you will reduce the amount of hamburger you eat,” Sears said. “If you set a limit of 40 to 50 grams of fat intake per day and you eat one hamburger, you will be done eating fat for the day after just that one meal.”
Hot dogs are also popular items being grilled this season. While the quality of meat in them has improved, Sears said they are still high in fat and recommends people read the package to check the fat content first.
Sears enjoys a steak as much as any one, and he said people could still enjoy beef if they keep their fat intake down to no more than 50 grams per day and eat smaller portions of lean meat.
“There is nothing wrong with eating red meat,” Sears said. “What we’ve done incorrectly in the past is not paying attention to the amount of fat in the various types of meat. Beef is an excellent food source if you utilize the right cuts and limit the portion sizes appropriately.”
aleigh qubty said:
11/5/2012 12:23 PM
I am glad to read that red meat is good for you. People in our society have become overwhelm in being skinny and it has become to, to, too skinny causing more and more health problems on the younger generation of teens. Being to skinny is unhealthy and this is the overboard mind set within our world of people. Skinny people are being used as a toy not a human and Hollywood proves that. Men do not know how to respect themselves and be men with respect with the drive of women having to be skinny causing women to have much more than, diet, as a problem. the worse is mental and emotional problems and who's fault is this, ( the adults)in our society teaching immoral behaviors targeting the manipulation game playing of the mind for selfish reasons. You need to continue to speak about the healthy sides of eating fats and for the safety of ones health. Alittle fat never hurts anyone especially when one gets sick they have something to go on. So teach the inter self benefits of staying healthy and that includes the mind soul and spirit not for the pleasure of others to take advantage of others because of their immaturity. When mothers are wearing their teenage daughters clothing there is something wrong and when a teen is wearing a seven year old clothing that is a problem. Be a Positive Role Model as and, adult for the love of the next generation