New Year’s resolutions are upon us, leaving many Americans setting goals to improve their health, lose weight, become a better person, or whatever else they want to throw in there. Unfortunately, these resolutions often lead to desperate internet searches for advice and/or quick fixes on how to meet these goals. With the plethora of fad diets and nutrition advice from the so-called “nutrition experts” it can be confusing as to what to believe. It is important to start with science-based facts.
As a Registered Dietitian, I get many questions on what fits into a healthy diet. My answer, “everything fits!” Yes, everything in moderation can fit into a healthy diet, including red meat. Beef is often seen as the villain when it comes to eating healthy. However, if you look at the facts, it is clear that beef is not only delicious, but also good for you!
Let’s take a look at some of the common myths and get the facts.
Myth 1: Beef can’t fit into a healthy diet.
Fact: 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend a variety of meat protein including red meat. To learn more about the guidelines go to: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/.
A 3 oz. portion of beef provides more than 10% of 10 essential nutrients like protein, zinc, Vitamins B6 & B12, and choline, just to name a few. No other animal protein no other animal protein can say that. http://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/beefsbig10.aspx
Myth 2: Beef isn’t heart healthy because it contains saturated fat.
Fact: All animal protein contains saturated fat. What you need to understand is the effect that saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats have on serum cholesterol especially, Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL Cholesterol) and your personal cholesterol levels.
A 3 oz. portion of lean beef averages 4-6g of saturated fat, compared to 3 oz. of boneless skinless chicken breast at 3-4 g saturated fat per serving. Learn more about fat intake guidelines from the American Heart Association. https://healthyforgood.heart.org/
Half of the fat found in beef is monounsaturated, the same heart-healthy fats found in olive oil. Read about the Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) study for more details on the heart healthy benefits of beef and the positive effect on LDL Cholesterol levels. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2011/12/13/ajcn.111.016261.full.pdf+html
When buying beef choose “Choice” or “Select” grade cuts versus “Prime” for less overall fat make up. Loin, Sirloin, Round or Chuck are key identifiers for lean cuts. http://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/CMDocs/BIWFD/FactSheets/Many_Of_Americas_Favorite_Cuts_Are_Lean.pdf