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Healthy Eating

Ground Turkey Or Ground Beef?


Is one a better choice?

Ground beef and ground turkey are both nutritious. On the surface, it may not seem like one is healthier than the other when comparing the protein and calorie contents of cuts of similar fat percentages.

However, in some situations, one may outshine the other as the best option.

Weight loss

Decreasing your overall calorie intake and increasing your protein intake are two tactics often used to lose weight.

One of the possible benefits of high protein foods is that they increase feelings of fullness and may help reduce your daily calorie intake, thus promoting weight loss.

Ground beef and turkey are both rich in protein, but fat-free turkey has the fewest calories and most protein, compared with higher fat cuts of turkey.

It also has equal or greater amounts of protein than any type of ground beef.

Therefore, when trying to lose weight, fat-free ground turkey may be the best choice.

Heart health

Studies have found that eating foods high in saturated fat, such as beef, increase risk factors for heart disease.

The American Heart Association currently recommends limiting saturated fat intake to 5–6% of your total daily calories, which equates to about 13 grams per day on a 2,000-calorie diet.

If you have heart disease or are at high risk of developing it, ground turkey may be healthier for you than ground beef. Turkey has approximately one gram less of saturated fat, compared with beef of the same fat percentage.

Additionally, choose lean cuts of either meat, such as 93% lean and 7% fat ground turkey or beef. Although, 99% fat-free turkey is the leanest option of all, with less than 1 gram of saturated fat per 3 ounces (85 grams).

However, it’s important to note that more recent review studies suggest that saturated fat intake is not strongly associated with heart disease, even if it may increase some of its risk factors.

Either way, it’s important to be aware of how fat contents differ between meats. Plus, remember that other aspects of your diet also play a role in preventing heart disease.

Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, choosing heart-healthy unsaturated fats like nuts and olive oil, and watching your sodium intake may all help promote heart health.

While ground beef and turkey are both low in sodium, be mindful of how much salt you add when preparing them.

In the kitchen

Beef and turkey may be nutritionally similar, but their flavor profiles are slightly different.

Most people consider the flavor of beef stronger than turkey. However, using turkey in place of beef in tacos, casseroles, or other dishes with a lot of ingredients and seasonings isn’t that noticeable.

This is especially true if you use turkey with the same fat content as the beef called for in the recipe. Once ground meats are smothered in seasonings, it can be hard to tell the difference.

Still, some cooks want the distinct taste or aroma of beef fat. Ground turkey, even if it has a similar amount of fat as beef, may still taste blander.

For dishes that rely on fat for some flavor, such as beef meatballs, sticking to ground beef and choosing a higher fat percentage is better than substituting turkey from a culinary perspective.

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