British Journal of Nutrition

Short Communication

Effect of lean red meat from lamb v. lean white meat from chicken on the serum lipid profile: a randomised, cross-over study in women

Rocio Mateo-Gallegoa1 c1, Sofia Perez-Calahorraa1, Ana Cenarroa1, Ana M. Beaa1, Eva Andresa2, Jaime Hornoa3, Emilio Rosa4 and Fernando Civeiraa1

a1 Lipid Unit, Hospital Universitario Miguel Servet, Instituto Aragonés de Ciencias de la Salud (I+CS), Avenida Isabel La Católica 1-3, 50009 Zaragoza, Spain

a2 Unidad de Investigación-Epidemiología Clínica, Hospital 12 de Octubre, and CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBEResp), Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII), Madrid, Spain

a3 Laboratorio de Bioquímica, Hospital Obispo Polanco, Teruel, Spain

a4 Lipid Clinic, Endocrinology and Nutrition Service, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi Sunyer, Hospital Clínic, and CIBER Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBERobn), ISCIII, Barcelona, Spain


The main dietary guidelines recommend restricting total and saturated fat intake in the management of high blood cholesterol levels for cardiovascular risk. These recommendations are usually oversimplified by considering that all red meats should be limited and replaced by white meats. However, lean red meat can be as low in fat as white meat. We examined the effects of red meat (lean breed lamb) and lean white meat (chicken) intake on the lipid profile of a group of women with stable life conditions (nuns living in convents). An open-label, randomised, cross-over study was carried out in thirty-six nuns who consumed either lamb or chicken three times per week for 5-week periods with their usual diet. Clinical, dietary and biochemical variables were evaluated at baseline and the end of each diet period. A validated FFQ was used to assess nutrient intake and monitor compliance. The results showed neither between-diet differences in lipid responses nor differences from baseline in total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol or TAG for any diet period. In conclusion, consumption of lean red meat (lamb) or lean white meat (chicken) as part of the usual diet is associated with a similar lipid response. These two foods can be exchanged in a healthy diet to increase palatability.

(Received February 24 2011)

(Revised July 13 2011)

(Accepted July 13 2011)

(Online publication September 09 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: R. Mateo-Gallego, fax +34 976369985, email