FoodFacts does its best to keep our community members in the know regarding news in nutrition. Sometimes the latest news puts to rest some long held beliefs about the foods we eat. This latest information does just that.

For years now, we’ve believed that we should keep our consumption of beef low. It hasn’t been considered the best source of protein, even for nutritionally conscious folks who follow a healthy diet plan, based on its fat content. A new study published in the January 2012 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is actually taking a new stance on the subject matter. The study shows that, in fact, beef can play a role in a cholesterol-lowering diet. Every day consumption of lean beef can be effective in lowering total and “bad” cholesterol.

Conducted by researchers at Pennsylvania State University, the study evaluated adults with moderately elevated cholesterol levels. It measured the impact of diets including varying amounts of lean beef on total and LDL cholesterol levels. Those involved in the study experienced a 10% decrease in bad cholesterol from the beginning of the study while consuming diets including between 4 and 5.4 oz of lean beef daily. The remainder of the diet was rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. It was concluded that diets including lean beef are as effective in improving heart health risk factors as other diets which emphasize plant proteins.

It is important to note that beef consumed in this study were lean cuts and 95% lean ground beef. It is also important to note the amount of beef consumed daily during the study. While this is all great news for beef lovers everywhere, we all need to be conscious of the cut, fat content and portion size of beef in order to consider it a healthy option in our diets. The good news is that the most popular cuts of beef (top sirloin steak, tenderloin, t-bone steak) do, in fact, meet government guidelines for lean beef. A 3 oz. serving of lean beef contains about 150 calories and in addition, is a great source of protein, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, niacin and selenium.

FoodFacts is happy to share this news with you and to remind all of us that a healthy lifestyle includes real foods, in combination with one another and in moderation. It’s always a better plan than anything that comes from a box.