Meat Comparison

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Back when I was doing Weight Watchers, I was looking for a lot of meat alternatives. I had already used a lot of turkey breakfast meats and ground turkey in place of ground beef in hamburgers, spaghetti, etc, but ground turkey just did not cut it for a real hamburger. One day, when I was shopping with my Hubby, he saw this:

Buffalo? Ground buffalo? Huh. Then I flipped it over and looked at the nutritional information:

Hm. Not too shabby. So, we took it home, tried it and loved it! It tasted just like beef - but was healthier and thus less WW points. It went straight into rotation! Though, recently, it has not been. I see it at the stores, but we really just don't eat much ground meat much anymore and when we do, it's always turkey.

Well, a few weeks ago, I went into the doctor for a general checkup. Verdict - I have a Vitamin D deficiency (which, if you want to know, I am trying to solve with a good multivitamin and this which has 2,000 IUs of vitamin D in 1 tsp! Wow!) and my cholesterol was high. The over-all cholesterol wasn't so bad, but my triglycerides were way bad ... like nearly double what it should be. Eek! So, anyway, I need to bring it down badly. The doctor prescribed more exercise, less sugars, less carbs and less/better meat (and, surprisingly, the fish oil that I suggested taking helps lower triglycerides too! Score!). Anyway, I started doing some research on sugar alternatives (will discuss this more later) and on meat. I thought - what meats are better for you, which ones have less calories and fat? Then I thought again of that lovely ground buffalo that I used to eat back on Weight Watchers and I dove into the research.

Among other places, I turned to the USDA website for information. Did you know they have a search tool to help you find out what nutrients are in the foods you eat? Pretty cool. So, I looked up all the various meats that I eat to get a better idea and I put together a table.

First, some notes and disclaimers before I share this table. First of all, I am not a nutritionist, I just compiled the information that I found on what I think is an unbiased, trustworthy site. Please do your own research and consult with your own doctors/nutritionists before deciding what is best for you. Anyway, notes - you will notice this table does not include pork. I am intolerant to pork, therefore don't eat it, and didn't include it in this list. I only included meats that I eat, but the USDA link that I gave above should give you information on pork should you want it. I kept all the amounts the same - 1 cup cooked. I tried to pick all ground meats. Buffalo (Bison) only had one listing on the USDA site. I'm not sure if it's ground or steak or what, but it's all I had, so I used it. I also wanted to use all lean ground meats, like I did in the instance of the beef, but ground chicken and ground turkey only had one listing. I'm not sure what percentage these would be or what, but I only had one option so I had to take what I could get! ;) Finally, I rounded. I hate all those decimals, so I used the typical rounding methods - .5 and up got rounded up, .4 and down got rounded down. Easy peasy, right?

So, here are my results based on the information found with the nutrients search on the USDA Website.

Bison, cookedGround beef, 85% - 89% lean, cookedLamb, ground or patty, cookedTurkey, groundGround Chicken
Serving Size1 cup, cooked1 cup, cooked1 cup, cooked1 cup, cooked1 cup, cooked
Energy (kcal)192305346296 301
Protein (g)3832303434
Fat, total (g)318241717
Cholesterol (mg)110 109118128110
Saturated fatty acids, total (g)171045
Monounaturated fatty acids, total (g)1810 67
Polyunaturated fatty acids, total (g) 01244
Calcium (mg) 1122273219
Iron (mg) 53222
Magnesium (mg)533022
Sodium (mg) 76485496545513
Vitamin B-12 (mcg)43300
Folate, total (mcg)432300

So, as you can see, buffalo has much fewer calories, slightly more protein, significantly less fat, less calcium, slightly more iron and much less sodium than all the other meats. And it tastes great? Pretty cool!

Another interesting thing I found out from this table - I had no idea just how high in calories and fat lamb was! Yikes! Good thing I only eat it a few times a year. I mean, I really love it, but my Hubby does not, so I only make it when he is out of town or my parents make it when we visit sometimes (and a steak for my Hubby). It is surprising high in magnesium and folate though.

For me, I think what I'm going to do is stick to turkey for my bacon, sausage and hot dogs and use buffalo in any recipe calling for ground meat and limit beef to the occasional steak and occasionally get beef bacon (which I much prefer, but I gotta get those triglycerides down) instead of turkey bacon. Of course, I will start trying to incorporate more seafood/fish and vegetarian meals.

Now, how to sneak a meatless meal by Hubby? ;)



Dr.Rutledge said...

Hi Clara,

Great post! You have certainly convinced me to give Buffalo a try.
Thanks for sharing this find.

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