Labor Day marks a crisis point for grill masters across the country. Though the holiday was enacted to recognize the contributions of American workers, it also marks the winding down of summer, the subtle creeping of fall, and the end of cooking outdoors. Grill outs and backyard barbecues will be in full force this Monday, with millions of Americans ingesting heavily processed frankfurters and red meat patties recently classified as “carcinogenic” by the World Health Organization. However, a recent study theorizes that regular consumption of burgers may yield certain health benefits.
Texas A&M University researcher Dr. Stephen Smith presented the findings of his study to cattle producers during the school’s recent beef conference. He explained that when prepared properly, and sourced from livestock fed a proper diet, beef may contain elevated levels of oleic fatty acids, the same healthy acids found in avocados. Subjects who were fed this type of beef saw an increase in their HDL cholesterol (the good kind of cholesterol) and a decrease in LDL cholesterol (the bad kind). The more marbled the meat, he explained, the healthier it likely is. Participants in this study ate five Angus or Wagyu beef patties per week over the course of six weeks.
The study is not without its fine print, primarily due to Smith’s connections with the beef industry. In fact, the beef lobby reportedly funded more than a few of his past studies. And his research about marbling? Financed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. So this Labor Day, if you choose to indulge in a double with cheese, it’s probably best to pair it with a side salad.