It is important to think of red meat as an occasional protein source, not a main source.
When working with patients who are choosing to manage cholesterol in their diet, these steps can be helpful:
- Select lean cuts that are baked, broiled, roasted or stir fried so the fat drips away. The leanest meat is the best from a health perspective. However, if a meat is so lean that it is no longer enjoyable, then go a bit lower in percentage of lean. Laura’s brand is good; however, Kroger, Remke Markets and other groceries with a butcher on site can provide equally lean meat.
- Seek free range or grass fed beef (raised primarily on forage rather than in a feedlot). You can get this at most groceries where a butcher is on site. However, meats butchered a certain way (e.g. Kosher) may only be available at certain stores. Kroger and Remke have Cincinnati locations where Kosher meats (and other specially prepared meats) are available. It would be wise to call your grocer to be sure the preferred method of butchering is available where you shop.
- Read labels or ask the butcher to confirm that no antibiotics have been used in raising the beef. Meat counter workers are your local grocery should know.
The American Heart Association recommends that all meat be lean (round, sirloin, chuck, or loin) cuts, and “Choice” or “Select” grades of beef rather than “Prime.” Ground beef should be “lean” or “extra lean” (no more than 15% fat).
A portion of meat should be 6 ounces or approximately the size of the palm of the hand. Organ meats are very high in cholesterol and a small serving (3 ounces) is OK about once a month. It is important to state that organ meats can come from Angus (or any animal) and mixed with other portions of meat (most common in hot dogs and sausage).
The best meats to eat are 85 percent lean (amount of fat) or higher. The cut of meat is actually a personal preference. It is recommended that you should consume red meat no more than twice per week if lean; once per week if less lean.
Note: Individuals may have different recommendations from their physicians based on medical status and laboratory findings.