Be sensible: A piece of steak with a roll of fat accompanying it won’t do your waistline much help. But when you pick the right cuts, the fat content of beef can be quite low, says Pauline Chan, dietitian and managing director of The Nutrition Place.
Lean cuts of beef that contain around 10g of fat per 100g comprise 95 per cent lean ground beef, round, tenderloin and T-bone steaks.
Extra-lean cuts comprise top sirloin, bottom round roast and eye of round roasts, and contain around 5g of fat per 100g. Still, for the same weight, skinless chicken breast contains only 1.24g of fat.
Shopping for a good cut? Watch out: Steaks with the word “Prime” on them are usually higher in fat, says Chan (which also means they’ll taste better). Go for meats with “Choice” or “Select” on their packaging instead of “Prime”, she advises. But picking a lean cut doesn’t put you in the culinary free-for-all league yet – you still have to control the fat and total meat intake in your daily diet.
Beef is healthy in the right amounts: It’s a rich source of many nutrients such as protein, iron, zinc, selenium, phosphorous and vitamin B12, says Chan. Research has shown that nearly half of the fats present in beef are heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids.
In addition, one-third of the saturated fat in beef is stearic acid, which does not have any effect on blood cholesterol levels, she reveals. However more fat – such as in the case of wagyu beef (40 per cent fat), which exhibits a higher monounsaturated to saturated fat ratio – isn’t always better. “Eating too much high-fat beef cuts will still result in weight gain,” says Chan.