Research: Beef as a part of a higher protein diet for weight loss

Research DefinitionResearch Definition

Lean Beef can be a successful part of a high-protein diet for weight loss.

Huge Steak

Huge Steak

Everywhere I turn, someone is suggesting a vegetarian diet or avoiding red meat.  Red meat is a central part of much of the western diets and a major contributor to overall protein intake within the United States.  The animal rights folks continuously try to guilt us into avoiding animal meat or will use science to encourage meat eaters to limit or cease eating meat.  Most of us find it extremely difficult to avoid meat and to be honest, I am not sure I would want to cut meat completely out of my diet.  The question is whether red mean can be a healthy part of a weight loss diet?

Higher protein diets may increase satiety and may preservation of lean mass compared to normal protein diets.  This along with preference has contributed to the popularity of high protein diets for weight loss, but can it help with weight loss.  A new study looked at this very question[1].  The researcher in this study used a randomized controlled trial was to determine the impact of consuming lean beef as part of a high-protein diet on body fat changes during a 16-week weight loss intervention.  The study included 119 adults of which 98 were female.  The subjects were overweight or obesity with an average BMI of 35.7 kg/m2.  They were randomly assigned to either a high-protein diet with at least 4 weekly servings of lean beef or a high-protein diet restricted in all red meats.  The results revealed that body fat decreased in both groups, but there was not a significant difference between the beef and non-beef groups.  

The bottom line:  The results of this study demonstrate that higher protein diets that are either rich or restricted in red meat intakes are effective for decreasing body fat.   This study suggests that lean beef can be consumed as part of a high-protein diet for weight loss.  I would still recommend limiting red meat, but, in my professional opinion,  there is no reason to complete cease consumption unless you are opposed to meat consumption.


R. Sayer, K. Speaker, Z. Pan, J. Peters, H. Wyatt, and J. Hill, “Equivalent reductions in body weight during the Beef WISE Study: beef’s role in weight improvement, satisfaction and energy.,” Obes Sci Pract, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 298–310, Jul. 2017. [PubMed]
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.