Cooking and Health

Beef Nutrition

Beef is a healthy inclusion in your family's diet, and it is much easier to handle and prepare safely than most people realize. The simple addition of a meat thermometer will ensure the beef has reached a safe temperature, and you can use the thermometer to judge the doneness of a piece of beef so that you can tailor your cooking to the preferences of your family and guests.

Research shows that beef is a vital source of protein, iron and many other important nutrients that sustain a healthy diet. In fact, calorie-for-calorie it is one of the most nutrient-rich foods to fuel an active and healthy lifestyle.

Here are some interesting facts on the healthy benefits of beef:

  1. There are more than 29 cuts of beef that meet government guidelines for lean, including consumer favorites like Tenderloin, T-Bone and 95% lean Ground Beef.
  2. USDA defines “lean” as less than 10 grams of total fat per 3-ounce serving.
  3. Lean cuts of beef have 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol (per 3-ounce serving).

  1. Additionally, 20 of the 29 lean beef cuts have, on average, only 1 more gram of saturated fat than a skinless chicken breast per 3-ounce serving. Discover which cuts of meat are certified lean.
  2. Beef is a naturally nutrient-rich food, helping you get more nutrition from the calories you take in.
  3. Beef has 8 times more vitamin B12, 6 times more zinc and 2.5 times more iron than a skinless chicken breast.

  1. A 3-ounce serving of lean beef contributes less than 10% of the calories in a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.
  2. A substantial body of evidence shows protein can help in maintaining a healthy weight, building muscle and fueling physical activity — all of which play an important role in a healthful lifestyle and disease prevention.
  3. The cut of beef with the lowest amount of calories, saturated fat and total fat is the eye round roast and steak, with only 144 calories, 1.4 grams of saturated fat and 4 total grams of fat in a 3-ounce serving.



In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers from Penn State University found that people who participated in the Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) Study maintained healthy blood cholesterol levels while consuming some dietary pattern rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and beans, with lean beef as the primary protein source. The BOLD diets contained 113 -127 grams (4-5.4 ounces) (weights before cooking) of lean beef daily, while providing less than 7% of calories from saturated fat, consistent with current fat intake targets. The BOLD study is one of the latest additions to the body of evidence that supports including lean beef in a heart-healthy diet. 

Additional research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that following a Mediterranean-style healthy dietary pattern that incorporates fresh lean beef can reduce heart disease risk factors, including total and LDL cholesterol, and blood pressure. By incorporating 7-18 ounces or 198-510 grams of cooked, fresh, lean red meat per week, individuals can improve their cardio-metabolic disease risk factor profile including high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol and diabetes risk.

The Beef WISE study, conducted by the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, also demonstrates that eating lean beef four or more times a week, as part of a healthy, higher-protein diet, combined with physical activity, can help people lose weight and fat mass while maintaining lean muscle, and supporting heart health. This study shows that lean beef is just as effective as other protein choices to improve weight loss potential, body composition and support heart health, when included as part of a healthy, higher-protein diet. 

This research adds to the growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating that lean beef can be part of healthy eating patterns to improve cardiovascular health. In fact, over 20 studies of lean beef in healthy dietary patterns support a role for lean beef in a heart healthy diet and lifestyle.


Incorporate lean beef into your lifestyle by following these simple tips:

Choose lean beef at the meat counter. There are more than 36 cuts of beef that meet government guidelines for lean. A tip for finding lean beef cuts is to look for the terms “round” or “loin” (e.g.: Sirloin, Tenderloin, or Eye of Round).

Keep portion size in mind. A sensible and satisfying 3 ounces or 85 grams cooked serving of lean beef is about the size of a deck of cards.

Trim away any visible fat from cooked beef before serving.

When it comes to lowering cholesterol, small steps can get big results. The American Heart Association recommends eating a variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups ;When buying meats, choose the leanest cuts available, trim visible fat and prepare them in healthy and delicious ways like broiling, roasting or poaching and pairing them with fiber rich vegetables, fruits and whole grains.



Knowing whether or not a food contains gluten is important for the growing gluten-free community. People who have Celiac disease - an autoimmune disorder that causes an intolerance to a gluten protein found in wheat, barley, rye and sometimes oats - eliminate gluten as the only effective treatment for the disease. Others avoid gluten for possible undesirable side effects that may arise from non-celiac gluten sensitivities.

Beef is naturally a gluten-free food and research confirms that even though grain-finished cattle eat sources of gluten grains such as wheat, barley and rye, beef remains gluten free because of cattle’s unique digestive system. Try recipes where we pair non-gluten nutrient rich grains like corn, quinoa and rice in gluten-free meals that are sure to satisfy.


A great balance of nutrients !

Right now in America and other developed countries, it is common to be both overweight and, at the same time, undernourished. Why? We are surpassing recommended levels of calories, but we’re not balancing that with enough physical activity, and we’re not getting the recommended amounts of many important nutrients.

Beef – including steak, roasts and ground beef - offers a solution to this dilemma. It’s both delicious and it provides more nutrients in fewer calories than many other food choices. For example, a 85 g or 3 oz serving of beef contributes over 50% of the daily value of protein and is also an excellent source of zinc, vitamins B6 and B12, niacin, and phosphorus and a good source of iron.



With zero carbohydrates, U.S. beef supports a healthy Low-Carb lifestyle. Research shows that boosting protein-rich foods can help stave off cravings, maintain muscle during weight loss and maintain healthy levels of blood sugars and cholesterol.

U.S. Beef completes and balances a Low-Carb diet because it satisfies and is a source of great tasting, high quality protein. Protein rich meals and foods like U.S. beef, as part of a Low-carb Lifestyle, are essential to help build and preserve muscles.



The ketogenic, or “Keto” diet has been used since the 1920’s for controlling epileptic seizure but has become more popular as research has shown it may be an effective tool for weight loss. Keto followers aim for a very low carb, high-fat and moderate protein intake. Because Keto diets restrict carbohydrates, which includes many fruits and vegetables, pairing keto-friendly food like U.S. beef with low carb vegetables can help balance nutrient needs.