There’s a lot of noise around ground turkey and ground beef and which is better for your health.
When it comes to obesity and heart health in America, we’ve been told for the last 30 years that we should avoid saturated fats and cholesterol.
However, in the last 10 years, many leading healthy journalist have debunked the conventional theory that saturated fat causes us to get fat.
Not to mention, ground turkey has several stages of leanness. Turkey, by default isn’t the healthier choice that many people believe it to be.
So how do you choose which is healthier?
Based on recent research, I’d like to make the case that ground turkey and beef are more similar than we think. In some cases, beef is actually more nutritious.
Below I’ve included 4 reasons that I hope will answer the question…
Which is better for you: ground turkey or beef?
Ground Turkey Isn’t Always Leaner
Contrary to popular belief, not all ground turkey is leaner than ground beef. Ground turkey is available in several lean to fat ratios that determine its nutritional content
Check the Nutrition Facts label to determine the lean to fat ratio. If you chose any ground turkey without looking at the Nutrition Label, you may be defeating your purpose.
Below I’ve included a comparison of 93/7, lean to fat ratio ground beef and ground turkey.
As you can see, these were identical portions with the same lean to fat ratio.
3oz. Ground Beef – 162 calories, 7.5g fat, 68mg cholesterol
3oz. Ground Turkey – 176 calories, 9.7g fat, 90mg cholesterol
In this instance, ground turkey actually had more fat, cholesterol and overall calories. Not only is the lean to fat ratio important, but so is what constitutes it. Ground turkey can contain dark meat and skin, which contains more cholesterol and fat than turkey breast.
HOW TO SELECT HEALTHY TURKEY
Finding a butcher who’s willing to grind fresh turkey is hard to find in a large corporation supermarket. I recommend sourcing only organic, free range turkey.
When you select pastured raised meat, you’re selecting a healthier turkey that’s been fed a native diet. No overfeeding.
You can find many organic, free range turkeys from Amazon, including many that are locally sourced. The Vermont Smoke & Cure Meat Sticks, Turkey, Antibiotic Free is free range, no antibiotics ever and organic vegetarian feed.
Some of my other favorite free range turkey snacks include:
A Leaner Bird Means More Salt in Your Food
If you happen to chose ground turkey that is leaner than ground beef, the taste may disappoint you.
Aside from nutritional content, fat is both a flavor enhancer and tenderizer. The absence of fat in your food tends to create an unflavored, drier piece of meat.
This new flavor profile (or lack thereof) will likely convince you to add additional seasonings to your food to compensate for the flavor that fat adds.
If your like the majority of us, there’s a good chance that you will choose to use the most common seasoning: salt.
Salt is an electrolyte that is essential to many of our bodies functions. However, the majority of us already exceed the recommended allowance.
The last thing you want to do is defeat the purpose of trying to eat healthy. Try substituting ground turkey in meals where flavors are blended together like chilis and hot plates.
Ground Turkey is Just as Processed as Ground Beef
Most store bought ground turkey goes through similar commercial processing as ground beef. Peta reports that off the 300 million turkeys raised per year, virtually all are raised on factory farms.
This means, animals are raised in tight corridors with limited access to light and poor ventilation. According to FarmSanctuary.org, ammonia-filled air is a common consequence of these conditions.
Ammonia-filled air? The last thing I want to be eating on my plate is a bird who’s been ingesting toxic gases its whole life.
There’s an alternative. Similar to meat, you’re safest bet is to chose farm raised, organic fed poultry. Farm turkeys are raised in less stressful environments and are fed a more natural diet.
Beef Contains More Nutrients
When it comes to nutrients, beef surpasses turkey in nearly every comparison.
To be accurate, turkey and beef both contain similar amounts of potassium. In addition, turkey contains Selenium which supports immunity.
Eating beef is like taking a vitamin pill – its rich in Iron, Zinc, b12 and even contains the performance enhancing amino acid, creatine.
Creatine supplements are popular among body builders and competitive athletes because it has clinically proven to increase max output and increase strength.
What side of the argument are you on?