Meat Sources and Nutritional Values Beef

Beef is an excellent source of high-quality protein, and provides significant contributions of many B vitamins and minerals. In macronutrient terms, the lean-to-fat ratio of the particular beef product influences the calorie and nutrient composition. In general, as the fat content decreases, the concentration of other nutrients (especially protein, B vitamins, and minerals) in beef tends to increase. Most beef products available to the consumer are much leaner than they were 20 or 30 years ago. This is a result of changes in feeding and genetics, producing leaner animals, and also due to closer trim levels on the products that consumers see in the meat case. Whereas in the past, beef cuts with 1/4 in. of fat trim were common, now the same products have only 1/8 in. fat trim or, in some cases, even 0 in. fat trim. In the case of ground beef products, 10 or 20 years ago 17% fat ground beef was considered as 'extra lean.' Today, ground beef is commonly available at fat levels as low as 5 or 10%. Other common fat levels for ground beef are 15, 20, and 25%; however, a large proportion of current ground beef sales are in the 5-15% fat level range.

The fat content of beef contains a varied fatty acid profile, with the largest proportion being contributed by monounsaturated fat, followed by saturated fat and polyunsaturated fatty acids. In addition, because it is a ruminant product, beef is an excellent source of the naturally occurring fatty acid conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been demonstrated to provide anticarcinogenic properties among other health benefits.

Table 1 provides the energy, protein, and lipid profile of beef along with other meat sources. For a comparison of the mineral composition of beef products versus that of other common meat sources, see Table 2. For a comparison of the vitamin composition of beef products versus that of other common meat sources, see Table 3.

Table 1 Energy, protein, and lipid profile of meats and meat products®

Meat species/cut

Serving size (9)

Energy (kcal/kJ)

Total protein (9)

Total MUFA (9)

Total PUFA (9)

Total cholesterol (mg)

Beef

Composite, Ln 0 in., ckd, all grades Top round, Ln 0 in., brld, all grades Top loin, Ln 0 in., brld, all grades Arm pot roast, Ln 0 in., brsd, all grades 95% Ln ground beef, brld

Pork

Composite, fresh, Ln, ckd Tenderloin, fresh, Ln, rstd Center loin chop, fresh, Ln, pan-fried Shoulder, blade steak, fresh, Ln, brld Ham, fresh, Ln, rstd Lamb

Composite, Australian, Ln 1/8 in., ckd Loin, Australian, Ln 1/8 in., brld Leg, Australian, Ln 1/8 in., rstd

Australian, Ln 1/8 in., brsd New Zealand, Ln, ckd US domestic, Ln 1/4 in

Foreshank, Composite, Composite, US domestic, Ln 1/4 in., ckd Veal

Composite, Ln, ckd

Cutlet, leg top round, Ln, pan-fried

Loin chops, Ln, rstd

Shoulder, blade, Ln, brsd

Chicken/turkey

Broilers, meat only, rstd Broilers, Lt meat only, rstd Broilers, Dk meat only, rstd Turkey, all classes, meat only, rstd Turkey, all classes, Lt meat only, rstd Turkey, all classes, Dk meat only, rstd Processed meats

Bacon, pork, cured, pan-fried, 1 slice Sausage, pork, fresh, ckd, 2 links Bologna, beef & pork, low fat, 1 slice Salami, beef, ckd, 1 slice

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