The Truth About Lean Beef

In this modern age, most people are taking extra care to thoroughly vet their meat — where it comes from, how it's processed, and what's really in it. When it comes to beef in particular, there are an abundance of brands to choose from and different types of beef in itself. Here's how to know if you've been making the best choice for you when it comes to lean beef.

According to Food Network, there are a multitude of different lean cuts of beef nowadays. But what does "lean" really mean? "When a cut is labeled as 'lean,' it contains less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 3.5 ounces." Think of lean as beef that's been meticulously trimmed of its fat to varying degrees. While some beef brands in stores will have big labels stating such (ground beef, for instance), you can also tell if a cut is lean by its name: "If you see the words 'round' or 'loin' in the name, such as top sirloin steak, top loin steak, and tenderloin steak," then it's lean!

Is lean better than other types of meat?

Basically, choosing your beef is all dependent upon your taste and diet preferences. Now that you know that lean beef means less fat and cholesterol, you can use that information to make choices that feel healthier. Some people prefer beef that has a little fat because it adds a little extra flavor when cooking, but others look specifically for lean cuts of beef to be a healthier red meat option.

This piece from Healthline looks at the particular differences between ground turkey and ground beef, highlighting different ratios of fat to lean meat content. For example, when you see packaging that notes the meat is 90-95% lean, that stands for the percentage of lean meat, with the difference (5-10%) being the fat percentage.

As far as the difference between ground turkey and ground beef goes, there are pros and cons. Ground turkey overall has less saturated fat than ground beef, but ground beef has less fat in general and contains slightly more protein. And, according to The Washington Post, ground turkey can be more dry and difficult to cook with compared to ground beef. Whichever meat you choose to cook with, you can rest assured you're now equipped with the right information to help you make the decision that's best for you.