Red meat too often gets a bad rap for being laden with fat and cholesterol.
While many health organizations recommend eating less total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, people often conclude that they should avoid beef altogether and replace it with fish or skinless poultry.
However, this is not necessarily true.
Several recent studies demonstrate that eating lean red meat (beef, veal and pork) is just as effective in reducing "bad" cholesterol and raising "good" cholesterol as lean white meat (poultry and fish).
A common misperception about beef is that the majority of its fat is saturated, while in fact nearly half of the fat in lean beef is monounsaturated. This form of fat is believed to help lower blood cholesterol and reduce risk of heart disease.
As a rule of thumb, beef cuts with loin or round in the name are the leanest, including:
- eye round
- top round
- round tip
- top sirloin
- bottom round
- top loin
Similarly, cuts of pork with loin in the name are leanest:
- top loin roast or chop
- sirloin roast
- loin rib chops
When it's time for beef, eye of round is the leanest cut. A three-ounce serving has nearly half your daily protein and just 160 calories.
The eye round roast is boneless and can be a bit tough, so it is best to cook it with a moist heat process such as pot-roasting. There are 3 parts of a round steak, and of the 3 parts, the eye of round is the most tender.
Cooking a 3 to 5 Pound Eye of Round Roast
- Place roast in 9 X 13 inch baking dish, pour marinade over roast and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Place roast in skillet and sear meat, browning well on all sides.
- Place eye of round roast back into baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 1-1/2 hours.
- Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
Many now replace ground turkey for ground beef, but consider this: A 3-ounce serving of ground turkey can contain close to 11 grams of total fat compared to a 3-ounce serving of 95-percent lean/5-percent fat ground beef, which contains only five grams of fat.
Experts agree that including beef may provide the additional variety to help people stick with a low fat diet.
SO Yes, You Can Enjoy Beef!
Small portions of lean beef add flavor without a lot of artery clogging saturated fat. The lean "round" cuts of beef do require slow roasting to tenderize the meat and to make it easy to chew.
If you are working to reduce heart disease risk, research says can enjoy lean beef in your diet with no guilt. Those who follow a low-fat diet show the same reductions in bad LDL and increases in good HDL cholesterol whether they have eaten lean red meat or poultry and/or fish.
In addition, beef contains more B6, B12, folate, iron and zinc than chicken. One 3-ounce serving of beef has as much zinc as 5-1/2 chicken breasts. The zinc in beef may help build immunity, while its high iron content fights fatigue and iron-deficiency anemia.
Like cheese and nuts, three or four strips of beef can make vegetable meals fabulous. You may find yourself inspired to eat more vegetables by upping their flavor with a bit of beef! If you include three or four beef strips (about 1.5-ounce) you only add 55 calories and 2g fat to an otherwise vegetarian meal. The bonus comes in the flavor. So go ahead and enjoy some beef, just be sure it is lean.
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