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Date Abstract Report Received



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The Mediterranean-style eating pattern (Med Pattern) is consistently associated with decreased chronic disease risk (1-3) with emerging evidence suggesting improved quality of life (4-6) and sleep (7). A Med Pattern is characterized by relatively high consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, nuts/seeds, and olive oil, moderate consumption of poultry, fish, and dairy, and is restricted in red meat (8, 9). Red meat can be incorporated into other heart healthy eating patterns, such as a DASH-style, to improve cardiometabolic disease risk profiles as effectively as other animal protein sources (10-12) but there is a paucity of data regarding the inclusion of red meat in a Med Pattern. Additionally, little is known about how consuming red meat in heart healthy eating patterns can influence quality of life and measures of sleep. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess the effects of consuming 18 oz vs 6 oz per week of lean unprocessed beef and pork in the context of a Med Pattern on cardiometabolic disease risk factors, perceived quality of life, and subjective and objective measures of sleep.

During the first week, participants consumed their normal eating pattern and baseline measurements of blood pressure, body composition (weight, % body fat), fasting blood glucose, insulin, and lipid profiles, habitual food intake, perceived quality of life, perceived quality of sleep, and activity levels during sleep were collected. Participants were then randomly assigned to consume a Med Pattern either rich or restricted in lean unprocessed red meat (6 vs 18 oz of beef/pork per week, respectively) for the next 5 weeks. Measurements mentioned previously were made again during the last week of the Med Pattern intervention to evaluate changes in these outcomes. Participants were counseled to return to their normal eating pattern for a 4 week “wash-out” period and then repeated the process with consumption of the alternate Med Pattern. Participants were advised to maintain similar body weight throughout the entire study and all foods/beverages were prepared and provided to the participants during the Med Pattern feeding periods.
Forty-one participants (13 men and 28 women with an average age of 46 years) completed the 16-week feeding trial. Subjects were overweight/obese but were at relatively low risk of developing cardiometabolic disease.

Participants reported consuming upwards of 95% of the provided Med Pattern food items. Blood pressure parameters improved from consuming a Med Pattern, regardless of the amount of red meat included. Blood lipoproteins (total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol) decreased from consuming a Med Pattern but greater reductions in total and LDL cholesterol occurred during consumption of a Med Pattern which included daily servings of lean unprocessed red meat. Additionally, adoption of a Med Pattern improved perceived quality of life and subjective sleep quality, regardless of the amount of red meat consumed.
The results of this study indicate that lean unprocessed beef and pork can be incorporated into a Med Pattern to improve cardiometabolic disease risk factors and perceived quality of life and subjective sleep quality. More research is needed to conclude about the effects of consuming red meat in a Med Pattern on objective measures of sleep.
For additional information contact Wayne W. Campbell, PhD, Professor, Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University, 765-494-8236, campbeww@purdue.edu.