A solid clinical study by a well-respected team, just published in the July issue of Obesity Science and Practice, showed that eating lean beef, at least four times per week, produced weight loss just as effectively as a non-beef diet. Even better: there was no negative impact on heart health indicators, like total cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol, or blood pressure.
This research, called the Beef W.I.S.E. Study (Weight Improvement, Satisfaction, Energy) followed 99 overweight and obese adults for 16 weeks. Everyone did moderate-intensity exercise regularly and ate a higher protein diet, either with beef or without beef. The beef eating dieters ate beef about 4 times per week, not every day, and they ate plenty of other lean protein foods, like nonfat Greek yogurt, fish, chicken breast, etc. Indeed, some type of lean protein happened at each meal and snack.
The beef-eaters lose just as much weight, preserved just as much lean muscle mass as the non-beef group. “A key finding of this study is that 90 to 95 percent of the weight lost came from fat, not muscle,” said Dr. Drew Sayer, PhD, a co-author of the study. “This shows that lean beef doesn’t have to be restricted in a higher-protein diet and is just as effective as other protein choices in supporting healthy weight loss and leaner bodies.”
And I’d bet they also liked their diet more, because they didn’t have to omit food they liked. Anytime you have to omit a food on a diet, it can become the one food you want. According to the Consumer Beef Index, a survey of attitudes about beef, 3 out of 4 people DO like beef as a favorite or a top meal choice. The dieters in the Beef WISE didn’t eat beef daily, but about five times weekly. No deprivation there.
That’s exactly why I like this study: no feelings of deprivation. To be fair, there was no particular advantage to including lean beef, but the W.I.S.E. factors of satisfaction and energy are key to EVERY successful diet, and to maintaining both the lost weight and a healthful eating style. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or keep it off, YOUR eating style should help you feel energized and satisfied. The researchers will be following these dieters longer term and satisfaction data is also being analyzed, but the high retention rate suggests the participants liked whichever diet they were eating.
These beef-eaters ate lean beef, but that’s pretty easy. There are 29 cuts of beef that qualify as lean, meaning they have less than 10 grams of fat per serving and less than 4 ½ grams of saturated fat per 3-oz. cooked serving. Check out this chart listing 19 popular lean cuts of beef.
CutToTheChase: If you like lean beef, it’s be W.I.S.E. to include it while losing weight. It’s produces the same benefits as a non-beef diet. Liking your diet is key to staying one it! Try this lean beef recipe for Grilled Southwestern Steak with Colorful Vegetables (pictured at top). It’s quick, delicious, and loaded with lean protein.
Note: this study was funded partially by the Beef Checkoff, but also by many additional federal agencies, like the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. It was registered at https://clinicaltrials.gov. It’s sound science and highly credible. It’s sound science and highly credible. It’s one of the reasons I partnered with the Beef Checkoff program, established by the federal government in 1985. Participation by beef producers is mandatory.