Ground Turkey Vs Ground Beef: Which Is Worse For You?

When the time has come to start thinking about our health, focusing on the smallest nutritional details can sometimes have the biggest impacts. When you want to start cooking with a healthy meat, comparing beef and turkey feels like the difference between night and day. According to Healthline, both options can present a ton of benefits and really shine in particular situations.

To help determine which ground meat can do more harm, we consulted Jamie Hickey, NASM, FMS certified trainer, ISSA certified nutritionist, and founder of Truism Fitness, to get the lowdown on ground beef and turkey. According to Hickey, both items stand on even nutritional ground, but ground turkey has fewer calories.

"Ground turkey has fewer calories than ground beef, as long as you use a 99% fat-free turkey," Hickey said. "If you eat the dark meat from turkey, it can add up to more calories than red meat, and most ground turkey comprises white and dark meat. This is why it is important to buy a low-fat option."

Once you get past the calorie content, the details emerge when we check out the sodium, vitamins, and minerals of each meat.

Two evenly matched ground meats

If you need to watch your fat intake, ground turkey presents the healthier option. "If you use the correct ground turkey, it contains fewer calories, fat and saturated fats making it a healthier option than red meat," Hickey said. "The sodium amount is comparable to beef. Beef has more iron, zinc, and B12; however, turkey has a wider variety of B vitamins that promote higher energy metabolism amounts."

Trying to determine which meat presents a bigger nutritional threat really comes down to your lifestyle. "Whether or not it is healthier really depends on your diet." Hickey said. "If you're trying to lose weight, then a fat-free ground turkey would be the best option, but if you're trying to build muscle and are implementing a strength training routine while on a calorie surplus, I would recommend using an 85% ground turkey, 15% ground beef."

At the end of the day, both meats can do wonders for your diet, and it would prove wise to incorporate both options into your weekly eating plan. "Since both types of food have a different nutritional profile I wouldn't exclude either from any nutrition plan," Hickey said. "Like anything in life, you need to make sure to consume them in moderation, both ground beef and ground turkey has pros and cons."