BOLD News about Lean Beef |

BOLD News about Lean Beef

When the Checkoff Asks Questions, Beef Nutrition News Gets Even Better.

Thanks to checkoff-funded research, science continues to document a growing number of healthy benefits in lean beef, while toppling some long-held negative beliefs along the way. The latest misperception to be scientifically unseated is the idea, still common among some Americans, that beef is bad for the heart.

Instead, the new checkoff-funded BOLD study (Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet) offers substantive evidence that eating lean beef daily as part of an overall healthy diet can actually lower cholesterol – and is as effective in doing so as the most recommended heart-healthy diets, which often emphasize plant proteins and limit beef.

“This is great news to share with consumers,” David Mendenhall, Rocky Ford beef producer and president of Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, said. “They can eat lean beef every day if they choose and feel confident that science supports beef’s healthy benefits, which now include cholesterol-lowering effects. And it tastes great!”

With 29 lean beef cuts now available, Americans have a variety of healthy options, from steaks and roasts to lean ground beef, he added.

BOLD was a human clinical trial conducted by researchers at The Pennsylvania State University. Participants following BOLD diets consumed up to 5.4 oz. of lean beef daily. At the end of five weeks, they experienced a 10 percent drop in LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol, and a drop in total cholesterol levels. The BOLD results were comparable to the gold standard of heart-healthy diets, the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) which was also consumed by study participants for comparison. Many of the BOLD menus incorporated recipes from the checkoff-funded Healthy Beef Cookbook.

Checkoff dollars were allocated to study the impact of lean beef on heart risk factors when red meat, including lean beef, became increasingly restricted in dietary recommendations for heart health. Previous checkoff-funded nutrition research suggested DASH unnecessarily restricted lean beef, according to Shalene McNeill, PhD, RD, executive director of human nutrition research for NCBA, which contracts to manage checkoff programs.

“However, until the checkoff funded the BOLD work, we didn’t have a comprehensive study that would validate the benefits of adding more lean beef to the DASH diet and other diets like it that were being recommended most often to maintain or improve heart health,” McNeill added.

“The BOLD study is a prime example of how checkoff research works to help drive beef demand by pursuing and publishing the scientific evidence that ultimately persuades consumers and influencers that lean beef is not only good, but good for you”, Mr. Mendenhall said.

The checkoff is the only research initiative focused solely on establishing and communicating the beneficial role of beef in the diet and addressing nutrition misperceptions. Unlike the research conducted by many private industries, the ultimate goal of checkoff research is to publish results in peer-reviewed scientific journals, thus creating a public record of the results.

“Checkoff nutrition research is invaluable,” Mr. Mendenhall added. It takes on the kinds of questions that no one else is studying and provides the answers we as an industry need.”

By early January 2012, positive news about the BOLD study had appeared in more than 60 state/national media outlets, including Shape magazine, Men’s Health magazine, WebMD and Reuters.

The BOLD study results appear in the January 2012 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, published by the Society for Nutrition Science. The study is available online at

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