BOLD Study Boosts Beef

February Heart Month has been a revelation to many beef lover—thanks to a Pennsylvania State University study demonstrating a diet that includes lean beef every day can be just as heart-healthy as well-promoted plant-based diets. The Bee in an Optimum Lean Diet or OLD study had a very straightforward result, according to lead researcher Penny Kris-Etherton:

“Consumers can include lean beef and a heart-healthy diet and health benefits.”

The Beef Checkoff Program helped fund the thorough and peer-reviewed research according to Shalene McNeil, executive director for Nutrition Research at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. She says follow-up publicity efforts have helped generate significant interest:

“We’ve been thrilled with the media coverage; it’s been so positive. And I think that’s because consumers are looking for foods they can enjoy that can also benefit heart health, and 96% of Americans love to eat beef. And now they’re hearing great science that shows that there’s a scientific reason that they can include it every day and benefit their heart health.”

McNeil says the research was five years in the making, and it will provide a foundation for positive nutrition news about beef for a long time:

“We’re spending the whole year, really working with our state beef partners to generate good news about beef and continue the life of this study, the BOLD study. The first step is that we’re hearing great things from states already interacting with medical centers and nurses and doctors and dieticians to get the word out, and then we will continue to provide brochures, educational materials, fact sheets, tool kits so that they can continue to get this information out.”

According to McNeil, state beef councils around the country depend on checkoff-funded research and news generated at the national level to be more effective:

“We’re excited that this research is giving them some back up and some ammunition to go and do their great work that they do to get the word out about beef. Because it really is that direct-to-consumer, and direct-to-health professional interaction at the states where this information is going to get into the hands that need it.” is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.