Can Red Meat Be Part Of A Healthy Mediterranean Diet?

Can Red Meat Be Part Of A Healthy Mediterranean Diet?

Photo credit Hélène Dujardin


By Toby Amidor, MS, RD

This post is a collaboration with Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner., on behalf of the Beef Checkoff, as part of my role as a member of the Beef Expert Bureau. I have been compensated for my time commitment. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

I grew up eating a Mediterranean-style diet and still do so today. If you open any of my cookbooks, you’ll see a Mediterranean influence in many of my recipes. One thing, however, that has always remained a constant in my Mediterranean-style meal plan is the inclusion of beef, especially lean beef. Here’s a look into what I eat in a day— and the recent science to back up this heart-healthy style of eating.

The Research

A recent study conducted at Purdue University and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that following a Mediterranean-style eating pattern that incorporates lean, unprocessed meat, along with other animal protein sources, can support heart health. The study followed 41 overweight or obese adults for 16 weeks, where the participants were divided into two groups. One group ate a typical U.S. lean red meat diet (about 18 ounces per week), while the second group ate a diet restricted with lean red meat (about 7 ounces per week). The results showed that participants who consumed 18 ounces of lean, unprocessed red meat per week—in addition to poultry and/or fish—as part of a healthy, Mediterranean-style eating pattern, showed decreases in total cholesterol and LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol, and blood pressure.

A Day In My Life

As a registered dietitian, folks are often curious as to how I eat and how I stay healthy. Here’s what a typical day looks like for me:

Fruit smoothie made with nonfat plain Greek yogurt, frozen strawberries, splash of nonfat milk, and a date (to naturally sweeten).

Morning Snack
Sliced vegetables (like cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, radishes) with Simple Hummus

Photo credit Gail Watson Photography


Tuna Nicoise Salad

Photo credit Nat & Cody Gantz

Afternoon Snack
Honey Ricotta with Strawberries


Photo credit Gail Watson Photography

Grilled Steak with Herb Sauce
Israeli-Style Salad
Cooked quinoa


Photo credit Hélène Dujardin

In addition to my well-balanced eating plan that includes lean red meat, I also exercise regularly. I compete in several U.S. Tennis Association competitive tennis leagues, regularly practice Pilates, and weight train.

To Lean More

To find out more information on how lean red meat can be part of a Mediterranean-style eating plan, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, is hosting a free webinar on July 11 from 12-1 pm MT titled Getting to the Meat of the Mediterranean Diet: How A Mediterranean-Style Eating Pattern with Lean Red Meat Can Support Heart Health. You can register here. You can also check out this infographic for more information on the eating pattern and recipes that include lean beef.

1 Comment
  • Diana Lopes
    Posted at 12:23h, 16 July Reply

    That’s the question I’ve been meaning to ask. Thanks for the information here!

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