If Beef Is On the Menu, Choose the Leanest Cuts
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has said that "dietary patterns with positive health bene fits" include those that are lower in red meat, and they also recommend consuming less saturated fat, of which some cuts of beef are a signi ficant source.
"The majority of past research has pointed to saturated fat as the main contributor to heart disease, in particular, by raising total and LDL cholesterol levels. However, more recent research is pointing to the deleterious e ffects of following a very low-fat diet if fats are replaced with carbohydrates. If this replacement occurs with processed carbohydrate foods that contain re fined flour and added sugar, it can lead to even higher levels of LDL," explains Tanya Freirich, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. "However, this is not a free pass to consume unlimited saturated fat. The best plan is to replace saturated fats with more 'heart-healthy' unsaturated fats, as well as to choose complex carbohydrates in place of re fined carbohydrates. If you do choose to eat beef, choose lean, high-quality, unprocessed meat that is lower in saturated fat."
"Lean" de fined
The general rule of thumb when choosing lean beef is to look for loin or round cuts. Avoid buying cuts labeled "prime," which are higher in fat than "choice" or "select" cuts.
The five cuts of beef that are "extra lean" are:
A guide to ground beef
Cooking style counts, too
Ground beef can lose up to 50 percent of its fat when cooked, but the higher the percentage of fat in the raw meat, the more fat is lost during cooking. For example, extra-lean ground beef loses little to no fat during the cooking process.
And, pay attention to portion size: Divide one pound of ground beef into four 4-ounce portions before forming into patties, and cut larger pieces of whole beef into portions about the size of a deck of cards, which is roughly equivalent to 3 ounces. When dining out, divide an 8-ounce steak into two portions as soon as you are served, place half in a carryout box, and put it aside. If you're accustomed to eating larger portions of beef, fill up with a larger salad or more grilled or steamed vegetables.