Participants on the red meat diet mostly ate beef as their protein source, while the participants on the white meat diet mostly ate chicken.
The new research had several limitations; the meats in the study did not include grass-fed beef or processed products, including bacon or sausage. There is less pressure on consumers to do the same with its white counterpart.
The results showed that while participants in the high-saturated fat group had more total and LDL cholesterol levels than people in the low-saturated fat group, both red and white meat raised LDL levels, regardless of how much saturated fat was in the diet.
"When we planned this study, we expected red meat to have a more adverse effect on blood cholesterol levels than white meat, but we were surprised that this was not the case - their effects on cholesterol are identical when saturated fat levels are equivalent", said the study's senior author Ronald Krauss, professor of medicine at University of California - San Francisco.
Consuming white meat has the same effect on cholesterol levels as eating red meat, according to research published this week.
Saturated fats found in foods including butter, cheese and cream, increased blood cholesterol to the same extent with all three protein sources.
White meat has been held up as the healthier, leaner alternative - fueling the uptick in consumption of poultry, as sales of burgers and chops dwindle.
According to the new study, plant proteins such as vegetables, dairy, and legumes, including beans, show the best cholesterol benefit as they had the healthiest impact on blood cholesterol. The main source of red meat listed by the researchers was beef, while chicken served as the main white meat protein.
High cholesterol can block blood vessels and cause heart disease, which causes more than a quarter of deaths in the USA and UK.
For a while now, white meat has been to red meat what wholemeal bread is to white sliced: the more virtuous, health-boosting option. The study did find, however, that a high saturated fat diets in general were associated with larger LDL particles.
Red meat has always been associated with high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease due to its high levels of saturated fat, says the American Heart Association. It has been widely believed that large particles do not contribute as much as small particles to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) risk, but recent research suggests that both small and large bad cholesterol particles are associated with atherosclerosis.
It's also possible that there are other factors about red meat that can affect cardiovascular health, he said. "So the result can be viewed as indicating either a cholesterol raising effect of both meats, or a cholesterol lowering effect of plant foods, or both", added Dr Krauss.