The paper – Effects of a DASH-like diet containing lean beef on vascular health – published in the Journal of Human Hypertension, said that while studies had previously shown that plant protein may be an important effector of blood pressure change, there had been no previous studies on the effects of increased dietary protein from lean beef as part of this kind of diet.
While individuals are often advised to avoid or restrict beef consumption, because it is a source of saturated fatty acids, the researchers claimed that beef’s contribution to saturated fatty acids in the American diet was often overstated as it is not one of the top five contributors to saturated fatty acids for Americans.
Participants in the study were randomly assigned a diet order, in which they consumed four different diets for a period of five weeks, with a break period in between each.
The diets contained varying amounts of lean beef: DASH (28g of beef per day); BOLD – beef in an optimal lean diet (113g beef per day); BOLD+ – beef in an optimal lean diet plus additional protein (153g); and HAD – a healthy American diet, which contained 20g of beef per day.
All three experimental diets contained similar levels of total fat, saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids and cholesterol.
Systolic blood pressure decreased in subjects on the BOLD+ diet, compared to the HAD diet, however there was no significant effect on blood pressure from the consumption of the DASH and BOLD diets.
In summary, the results of this study suggested that it was the total protein and not type of protein that was important in eliciting reductions in systolic blood pressure.
The study also claimed that a DASH-like diet containing lean beef can improve vascular elasticity in individuals where age is not a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
DASH is the dietary pattern recommended by the American Heart Association and the American Society of Hypertension.