Previous studies have shown that multiple features of atherogenic dyslipidemia are improved by replacement of dietary carbohydrate with mixed sources of protein and that these lipid and lipoprotein changes are independent of dietary saturated fat content. Because epidemiological evidence suggests that red meat intake may adversely affect cardiovascular disease risk, we tested the effects of replacing dietary carbohydrate with beef protein in the context of high- vs. low-saturated fat intake in 40 healthy men. After a 3-wk baseline diet [50% daily energy (E) as carbohydrate, 13% E as protein, 15% E as saturated fat], participants consumed for 3 wk each in a randomized crossover design two high-beef diets in which protein replaced carbohydrate (31% E as carbohydrate, 31% E as protein, with 10% E as beef protein). The high-beef diets differed in saturated fat content (8% E vs. 15% E with exchange of saturated for monounsaturated fat). Two-week washout periods were included following the baseline diet period and between the randomized diets periods. Plasma TG concentrations were reduced after the 2 lower carbohydrate dietary periods relative to after the baseline diet period and these reductions were independent of saturated fat intake. Plasma total, LDL, and non-HDL cholesterol as well as apoB concentrations were lower after the low-carbohydrate, low-saturated fat diet period than after the low-carbohydrate, high-saturated fat diet period. Given our previous observations with mixed protein diets, the present findings raise the possibility that dietary protein source may modify the effects of saturated fat on atherogenic lipoproteins.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00852267.