Results of a new study conducted at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center has added to the growing body of evidence demonstrating lean beef can contribute to a healthy weight-loss diet. The study, Beef’s Role in Weight Improvement, Satisfaction and Energy (WISE), was funded through a research grant from the beef checkoff.
The Beef WISE study included 99 overweight or obese adults in a 16-week comprehensive weight management trial. Emphasis was placed on behavioral strategies to make lasting changes in the diet and physical activity that promote optimal health and wellness. In addition to participating in regular moderate-intensity exercise, subjects were separated into two groups that followed the higher-protein diet. One group consumed four or more servings of lean beef each week, while the other group was restricted from eating red meat. Both groups lost equal amounts of body weight and fat mass, while preserving muscle. All participants showed improvements in total and LDL cholesterol and blood pressure metrics.
Drew Sayer, lead researcher at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, said a key finding of the study was that 90% to 95% of the weight loss came from fat, not muscle.
“This shows that lean beef doesn’t have to be restricted in a higher-protein diet and is just as effective as other protein choices in supporting healthy weight loss and leaner bodies,” Sayer said.
NCBA Executive Director of Human Nutrition Research Shalene McNeill said the study is great news for people who enjoy beef, but might have been told to avoid it while following weight-loss diets. She said it underscores, once again, that lean beef can be part of a healthy, higher-protein weight-loss diet.

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