VERSUS: Beef vs Chicken (& Turkey)

12 Feb

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I know tons of people who suffer from this same misconception. They proudly tell me that they never eat red meat. They substitute ground turkey or chicken in anything that calls for ground beef.

They also eat turkey bacon, turkey sausage, turkey bologna, and turkey hot dogs instead of the regular kind.

Never mind all the sodium, nitrates, preservatives, and saturated fat in that turkey bacon: at least it’s not pork.  Cold cuts, bacon, and sausages made from turkey or chicken may contain just as much of that stuff as their traditional counterparts. Regardless of what kind of meat went into them, the low-fat versions of these foods are often even higher in sodium than the regular-fat varieties.

Chicken Breasts Are Low in Fat. Where did everybody get the idea that turkey and chicken are automatically healthier than beef ?  If you replace a broiled strip steak with the same amount of boneless, skinless chicken breast, you cut the fat by about 75%. Somehow people have latched on to the idea that chicken and turkey are inherently healthier than beef.

There are cuts of beef that are just as lean as a boneless, skinless chicken breast. There are cuts of chicken and turkey that have just as much fat as a well-marbled steak. If you were to replace a serving of London broil with a roasted chicken leg you’d end up eating three times more fat!

Lean Beef Is Also a Good Choice. If the goal is to reduce the amount of fat in the recipe, then replacing regular ground beef with lean ground turkey would certainly be an improvement. Replacing regular ground beef with lean ground beef would get you just as far. If you compare lean ground turkey with lean ground beef? Both have the same amount of fat and calories. Ground beef has almost twice as much iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 as the ground turkey.

Meat contains a mixture of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fat. Saturated fat is thought to be the least healthy, especially for your heart. Monounsaturated fats, which are the type you get in olive oil, are thought to be the most healthful. Although it varies from cut to cut, on the whole I’ve noticed that beef tend to contain a greater percentage of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats than turkey or chicken.

Beef Versus Chicken: The Take-Home

  1. Chicken and turkey are sometimes lower in fat than beef. But not always. The legs, thighs, and wings are higher in fat than the breast meat, and all poultry is high in fat if you leave the skin on. The amount of fat in ground meat and sausages varies. So, if you’re trying to cut back on fat, be sure to check the label and don’t make any assumptions.
  2. Lean cuts of beef such sirloin steak, or flank steak are just as healthful as lean cuts of chicken and turkey.
  3. Just because it’s made of turkey doesn’t automatically make it healthy. If it’s loaded with fat, salt, and/or preservatives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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