In a continued effort to get healthier, many wonder whether or not to make the switch from ground beef to ground turkey. While ground turkey has often been touted as the healthier alternative to ground beef, the results of the comparison aren’t exactly cut and dry. In all honesty, ground beef and ground turkey stack up similarly, which means the choice of what meat to use in your next spaghetti sauce comes down to flavor more than the health benefit.
COMPARING GROUND BEEF AND GROUND TURKEY
It’s important when making comparisons between ground beef and ground turkey to examine similar portions with the same lean to fat ratio. While ground beef clearly labels the lean to fat ratio on the packaging, you may have to read the Nutrition Facts label to find the ratio for ground turkey.
Ground turkey can be leaner, but it depends on what you purchase and where is comes from. Some packages of ground turkey are only white meat, while others are only dark and other still include a blend of both light, dark and skin.
Dark meat and skin contain more cholesterol and fat than turkey breast.
Ground turkey goes through a similar commercial process as ground beef. Whether choosing ground beef or ground turkey, choose farm-raised, organic fed alternatives to avoid factory farmed meats.
Ground beef contains more nutrients than ground turkey in nearly every comparison. Ground beef is rich in iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and amino acids.
Both ground turkey and ground beef contain similar amounts of potassium.
Ground turkey contains selenium, which supports immunity.
When comparing a 3 oz portion of ground beef to a 3 oz portion of ground turkey with the same lean to fat ratio, one study found that ground turkey actually had more fat, cholesterol and calories.
Choosing a leaner ground turkey may disappoint you when it comes to taste. Fat enhances flavor and acts as a tenderizer. The absence of fat creates a drier, less flavorful meat. When deciding whether to switch from ground beef to ground turkey, it may be beneficial to do so in more flavorful dishes like spaghetti sauce and chili. This way you won’t have to add unnecessary sodium and flavoring to enhance the taste. Save your lean ground beef for when the flavor of the meat counts, like in hamburgers and meatballs.
With similar fat content and health benefits, choosing ground beef or ground turkey often comes down to flavor preference. Whether you decide to switch completely, or only in certain recipes, you can find both ground turkey and ground beef at Livonia Glatt Market.
Catris, Chris. The Great Debate – Is Ground Turkey Healthier than Beef?. The Other Side of Food. January 19, 2015.
Harlan, Timothy S. MD, FACP. Is Ground Turkey Better For You Than Ground Beef? Drgourmet.com.