A Beef Q&A: The Good and the Bad

A Beef Q&A: The Good and the Bad

For the last couple of years, the debate related to the consumption of red meat made you think twice before making any changes to your diet. Some would continue eating burgers or stakes regularly, while some would replace it with poultry or turkey.

This article contains both good and bad news about beef. If you want to find out what applies to other types of red meat, the information is helpful but incomplete.



Does Beef Have Benefits in Terms of Nutrition?

Beef is very nutritious. These are the nutrition facts for 100g of cooked ground beef (90% lean meat):

  • Calories: 214(896 kJ) - 11% RDA
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  •  Fat: 11.1g - 17% RDA, 
  • saturated fat: 4.4g - 22% RDA
  • Protein: 26.6g - 53% RDA


  • Niacin: 5.2mg - 26% RDA
  • Vitamin B6: 0.3mg -17% RDA
  • Vitamin B12: 2.5mcg - 42%


  • Iron: 2.9mg - 16% RDA
  • Phosphorus: 193mg - 19% RDA
  • Potassium: 300mg - 9% RDA
  • Zinc: 6.6mg - 44% RDA
  • Selenium: 21.6mcg - 31%

As long as you opt for lean meat, the amount of saturated fat isn't alarming, while the amount of cholesterol is average (Cholesterol: 86.0mg - 29% RDA). 

This red meat is high in protein and vitamin B12, both crucial for proper body function and health.

Beef is also a good source of heme-iron, vitamin B6, zinc, selenium, and niacin.



Is Beef Dangerous For The Heart?

The answer is: yes and no.

Some studies link saturated fats to heart issues, while others don't. If you want to be on the safe side, choose leaner cuts of beef, and consume it in moderation.

However, consuming beef frequently increases your levels of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). Red meat, fish, poultry, and eggs are the principal sources of choline, from which gut bacteria gets its nourishment. As a result, you get trimethylamine in your gut, which the liver uses to make TMAO. High levels of TMAO is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and premature death.

In conclusion, eating beef frequently, or in high quantities, predisposes your body to heart-related conditions. Red meat should be included in a diet that contains plenty of food categories, and it should never become the staple of your cuisine.



Is Grilled Beef Healthy?

The cooking method makes a big difference. If you cook meat over high heat, heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are formed. They are chemicals that might affect the DNA and cause cancer.

Follow the tips below to minimize the number of harmful chemicals:

  • Avoid grilling meat over an open flame
  • Avoid cooking meat on a very hot surface (e.g. raclette)
  • Flip the meat frequently 
  • Avoid ingesting charred meat
  • Precook meat in the microwave (it will reduce the time the food needs to stay over high heat)



Can Beef Cause Diabetes?

Plenty of sources show that red meat consumption is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Many people love a good steak, a tasty burger, a delicious roast, etc. Beef is a popular ingredient and the focus of a high number of dishes.

The problem is actually your taste buds. If you stick to two servings of beef per week, and you eliminate processed foods (sausages, deli meat, etc.), your chances of developing type 2 diabetes are low. The solution is self-control. What's too much will not provide any positive results, and you have so many delicious recipes that don't contain beef or any kind of red meat.



Is Beef Good for Those Who Exercise?

Beef contains beta-alanine. This amino acid forms carnosine, which aids muscle function and exercise performance

Beef also contains all the essential amino acids your body needs to recover after physical exercise. If you don't include quality protein in your diet, you will be predisposed to muscle weakness and muscle loss as you age.

Everyone needs to exercise to have a healthy body and lifestyle. However, proper nutrition is crucial. If you completely eliminate beef and poultry from your diet, your body is likely to experience side effects in the long run. If you follow a plant-based diet, you will need to resort to adequate supplements.

Quality protein (animal protein) is essential for proper muscle function. Plan your day ahead so that you enjoy that juicy steak after your workout.



Is Beef Helpful If You Have Anemia?

Anemia is common in middle-aged women. If you have low ferritin, but your CBC (complete blood count) levels are normal, you just need extra iron in your diet. Before taking iron supplements, you can start by increasing your beef or red meat intake.

Beef contains heme-iron. Vegetarian foods also contain iron, but it's not very helpful. Heme iron is easily absorbed by your body, providing better results than non-heme iron.

If your CBC indicates severe anemia, you need to talk to your physician.



Is Grass-Fed Beef Better?

Grass-fed beef is much healthier than grain-fed. When you purchase beef produce, it is recommended to opt for organic, grass-fed options.

Here are some of its advantages:

In conclusion, if you have the budget to purchase better quality beef, go for it.



Is Beef Liver Bad for You?

Beef liver is one of the most nutritious foods in the world. 100g of cooked liver contains 29g protein (58% RDA), 201% RDA of riboflavin, 1176% of vitamin B12, 63% of folate, and 36% RDA of iron, among other vitamins and minerals. It also has a very low amount of saturated fat(only 1.7g per 100g).

However, beef liver contains 634% RDA of preformed vitamin A. This can be extremely dangerous if it leads to vitamin A toxicity. If you eat beef liver frequently, it's time to reduce the quantity. Preformed vitamin A (retinol) is not as harmless as beta-carotene. In the long run, it can cause undesirable side effects. 

Another bad news is that beef liver contains 132% RDA of cholesterol per 100g. This amount increases when cooked in butter or served along with foods containing cholesterol. 

In conclusion, don't overdo it with beef liver. Even if it contains quality protein and plenty of minerals and vitamins, it can give unpleasant side effects if eaten often.