Podcast Episode 154: Diabetes & Heart Health: New Research on Lean Beef – Dr. Kevin Maki

Jun 30, 2020

This podcast episode is a collaboration between Sound Bites® and Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff®. As a compensated member of the Beef Expert Bureau, on behalf of the Beef Checkoff®, my role is to share the science and support for beef’s role in a healthy diet. As always, opinions are my own. We thank Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff® for their support of the podcast.

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An Update on Diabetes, Heart Health & Lean Beef and a Discussion about the Strengths & Limitations of Nutrition Research

I believe that most people, including healthcare professionals, underestimate the potential benefits of lifestyle changes on health. Dietary changes that have relatively small effects on risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases can have important benefits if maintained over long periods.”

New Research published in the Journal of Nutrition

Nearly half of all American adults are living with some form of cardiovascular disease and 10 percent of Americans have type 2 diabetes, making it more important than ever that people have accurate, science-based nutrition advice to support a healthy diet.[1],[2]

Relatively few studies have directly assessed the influence of specific foods, including red meat and beef, or dietary patterns on insulin sensitivity. Most recommendations have been based on observational studies, which do not illustrate cause and effect for these foods.

New research, published in Journal of Nutrition, shows that adding 5.3 ounces of lean, unprocessed beef, which is several times the U.S. average daily consumption, to a healthy diet daily as a replacement for carbohydrates does not increase risk factors for heart disease or diabetes.

This research shows that individuals have flexibility to include up to about 6 ounces of lean unprocessed beef in daily healthy diets without increasing risk factors for heart disease or diabetes. On average, Americans consume about 1.25 ounces of fresh lean beef a day.[3],[4]  This new research adds to the growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating that lean beef can be part of higher-protein, heart-healthy diet.[5],[6] This research was funded by The Beef Checkoff.

Like saving for retirement, it pays to start early and be consistent. A dietary change that modestly lowers LDL cholesterol and keeps it low for decades is a much better strategy than waiting until there are significant plaques in the arteries and then taking a medication to produce a larger reduction in the cholesterol level.”

Limitations of Observational Evidence: Implications for Evidence-Based Dietary Recommendations

Data from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) provide the strongest evidence for establishing relations between exposures, including dietary exposures, and health outcomes. However, not all diet and health outcome relations can be practically or ethically evaluated by using RCTs; therefore, many dietary recommendations are supported by evidence primarily from observational data, particularly those from prospective cohort studies. Although such evidence is of critical importance, limitations are often underappreciated by nutrition scientists and policymakers.

Tune in to this Sound Bites® podcast episode to learn about the details of this new research study as well as an in-depth discussion about the strengths and limitations of different types of nutrition research including randomized controlled trials, observational studies and industry funded research.

Kevin C Maki, PhD, CLS, FNLA, FTOS, FACN

Dr. Kevin MakiKevin C Maki, PhD, is the Founder and Chief Scientist for Midwest Biomedical Research (Chicago, Illinois) and MB Clinical Research (Boca Raton, Florida). He specializes in the design and conduct of clinical studies in human nutrition, metabolism and chronic disease risk factor management. Dr Maki also holds an Adjunct Faculty position teaching Biostatistics and Applied Epidemiology at DePaul University. He is a Fellow of the National Lipid Association, The Obesity Society and the American College of Nutrition, as well as a certified Clinical Lipid Specialist and Vice President of the Board of Governors for the Accreditation Council for Clinical Lipidology.

Dr. Maki has participated in more than 300 clinical trials and observational studies as an investigator, consultant or statistician, and published more than 250 scientific papers, books and book chapters. He earned a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Public Health, and an MS in Preventive and Rehabilitative Cardiovascular Health from Benedictine University.

  1. Virani SS, et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2020 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. Circulation 2020;141:e139–e596.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services; 2020.
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/
  4. What We Eat in America, NHANES 2009-2010 (WWEIA FPED 2009-2010), individuals 2 years and over (excluding breast-fed children), day 1 dietary intake data, weighted. Food Patterns Equivalents Database (FPED) 2009-2010.
  5. Sayer RD, et al. Equivalent reductions in body weight during the Beef WISE Study: beef’s role in weight improvement, satisfaction and energy. Obes Sci Pract 2017;3:298-310.
  6. Hill AM, et al. Type and amount of dietary protein in the treatment of metabolic syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr 2015;102:757-70.


Choosing Beef: New Diabetes and Heart Health Research – Handout

Substituting Lean Beef for Carbohydrate in a Healthy Dietary Pattern Does Not Adversely Affect the Cardiometabolic Risk Factor Profile in Men and Women at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes – Research study article in the Journal of Nutrition:

Limitations of Observational Evidence: Implications for Evidence-Based Dietary Recommendations – article in Advances in Nutrition

Healthy Grilling with Beef – Handout

Dr. Kevin Maki on LinkedIn

Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner:
Website | Recipes | Cooking |Cuts | Nutrition | Raising Beef

Related Posts:

The Science of Strength – Sound Bites Podcast episode #128 with Dr. Mike Roussell



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Music by Dave Birk

Produced by JAG in Detroit Podcasts


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