Cholesterol : Look for Leaner Cuts of Beef

Jen Haugen, Austin Daily Herald, Minn.

We have all heard it before -- eating beef isn't good for your cholesterol. But new research actually suggests otherwise.

A study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that as part of a heart-healthy diet lean cuts of beef did help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by 10 percent. Consider these facts:

-- Due to the changes in breeding and feeding of steers, beef is now 34 percent lower in total fat compared to 1963 and 17 percent lower in saturated fat since 1990.

-- To date, there are a total of 44 cuts of beef that are considered "lean." To meet lean criteria, a 3.5-ounce, cooked portion must have less than 10 grams total fat, less than 4.5 grams saturated fat and less than 95 mg cholesterol.

-- As part of a lifestyle rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and beans, lean beef can be an effective way to reduce the risk of heart disease at 150 calories per 3-ounce serving.

How do you add flavor to lean cuts of beef?

-- Use rubs filled with herbs and spices to add flavor by applying it to roasts or steaks. Rubs will add flavor but won't tenderize. Simply apply the rub right before cooking or up to two hours in advance of cooking.

-- Try sauce, pesto or a glaze to liven up the color and flavor of your steak.

-- Use a marinade to add flavor or tenderize. If you want to add flavor, marinate for 15 minutes or up to two hours. Top round or skirt steak benefits from a tenderizing marinade -- which really just means you add an acidic ingredient and lengthen marinating time from six to 24 hours.

You can follow the same heart-healthy diet as the participants in the Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) study by using recipes found in The Healthy Beef Cookbook. Below is a sample recipe from the BOLD study.

Makes 4 servings

Total Recipe Time: 60 minutes

All you need

-- 2 cups fresh sugar snap peas

-- 2 cups cooked gemelli or corkscrew pasta

-- 1 cup grape or teardrop tomatoes, cut in halves

-- 3 cloves garlic, minced

-- 1 teaspoon black pepper

-- 1 boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 3/4 -inch-thick (about 1 pound)

-- Salt, to taste

-- Freshly grated lemon peel

-- Chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Gremolata Dressing

-- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

-- 2 tablespoons olive oil

-- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

-- 2 cloves garlic, minced

-- 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel

-- 1/4 teaspoon salt

-- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

All you do

1. Bring water to boil in large saucepan. Add peas; cook 2 to 3 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain; rinse under cold water. Combine peas, pasta and tomatoes in large bowl. Set aside.

2. Whisk Gremolata Dressing ingredients in small bowl until well blended. Toss 2 tablespoons dressing with pasta mixture. Set aside.

3. Combine 3 cloves minced garlic and 1 teaspoon pepper; press evenly onto beef steak. Place steak on rack in broiler pan so surface of beef is 2 to 3 inches from heat. Broil 9 to 12 minutes for medium-rare (145F) to medium (160F) doneness, turning once.

4. Carve steak into thin slices; season with salt, as desired. Add steak slices and remaining dressing to pasta mixture; toss to coat evenly. Garnish with lemon peel and parsley, if desired.

*Recipe as seen in The Healthy Beef Cookbook, published by John Wiley & Sons, reprinted with permission.

Makes 4 servings

Nutrition information per serving: 369 calories; 12 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 7 g monounsaturated fat); 5 mg cholesterol; 216 mg sodium; 31 g carbohydrate; 4.2 g fiber; 32 g protein; 1 mg niacin; 0.7 mg vitamin B6; 1.4 mcg vitamin B12; 4.4 mg iron; 46.5 mcg selenium; 5.3 mg zinc.

This recipe is an excellent source of protein, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron, selenium and zinc, and a good source of fiber.

(c)2013 the Austin Daily Herald (Austin, Minn.)

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