Nutritionist says beef study should not alarm

A nutritionist says a new study about beef is “interesting” but shouldn’t cause us to give up beef. A peer-reviewed study by the Cleveland Clinic that’s published in Nature Medicine says a compound in red meat that’s also used as a supplement in energy drinks promotes hardening and clogging of the arteries – atherosclerosis.

The compound is L-Carnitine, an amino acid. Dr. Shalene McNeill is a Registered Dietitian and leader of Human Nutrition Research for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).  She tells Brownfield Ag News,  “The metabolism of this single nutrient depends on the make-up of the bacteria in your individual gut.”  So, the results from person to person would vary.

The study says the Carnitine converts to a metabolite linked to the promotion of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) in humans. However, she says, “There’s a lot of evidence that shows you can include beef in a diet that can improve cholesterol levels and improve your heart health by choosing a balanced, varied and moderated meal.”

McNeill says lean beef brings high quality protein, zinc, iron and B vitamins to the table – nutrients that the authors of the study point out.

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