Is steak good for you? Let’s find out.
Some people adore it, others despise it, and others believe it will kill them in their sleep. Our relationship with red meat has become more complicated than ever, and with new research and skeptics appearing every day, this isn’t going to change anytime soon.
But does it deserve to be looked at with suspicion and dread? Red meat, and steak in particular, is a staple of western diets and is a delicious meal enjoyed by millions of people worldwide.
Like all things, the nutritional science isn’t as skewed in one direction as some dogmatic people would have you believe, and the findings on the negative health implications of steak, or lack thereof, might surprise you. Please don’t throw away your grill as we dive deeper into why steak might be good for you.
Nutritional Benefits of Steak
Very high nutrient density.
Steak is a lot more nutrient-dense than other forms of meat. A standard 6 oz piece of T-bone steak provides a lot of Vitamin B12, zinc, selenium, iron, and potassium, among other nutrients.
Yet, it may have different nutrients than organ meats and shellfish. Some nutrients like iron and zinc are tough to get from other sources.
A good, healthy source of fat.
Steaks might be high in fat, but that doesn’t mean they’re not good for you. Artificial fats should be the enemy instead of natural sources like red meat.
Grass-fed beef, for example, has a potent supply of highly bioavailable forms of omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid. These sources help improve cardiovascular health markers while also favorably affecting body composition.
A great muscle-building food.
Everyone knows you need protein to build muscle, but the type of protein is also essential. Steaks are full of protein but rich in creatine and all the essential amino acids.
Creatine helps augment athletic abilities and has been scientifically proven repeatedly to show improvements in muscle-building endeavors.
You don’t have to worry about dietary cholesterol.
Despite what the internet would have you believe, cholesterol found in meat and other food groups isn’t a problem.
Most of the population will not experience any adverse effects from consuming foods like eggs, organic meats, and steaks. While steaks
Might have cholesterol, they are also very high in minerals like choline, whose deficiency has been noted as an increasing problem in the masses.
The steak will help you lose weight.
Subbing out your boneless skinless chicken breast with a nice piece of red meat could do your progress wonders. With high fat and protein content, steaks are very satiating and will keep you fuller for longer.
Staying full during the day is the key to effortlessly sticking to a calorie deficit which is the primary driver of weight loss in our bodies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is steak a good source of nutrients?
Yes, steak is highly nutrient-dense, providing substantial amounts of Vitamin B12, zinc, selenium, iron, and potassium.
Does steak contain healthy fats?
Yes, especially in the case of grass-fed beef, which is rich in bioavailable forms of omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid beneficial for cardiovascular health and body composition.
Is steak beneficial for muscle building?
Absolutely, steak is rich in protein, creatine, and essential amino acids, which are crucial for muscle development and athletic performance.
Can the cholesterol in steak negatively affect health?
For most of the population, dietary cholesterol found in foods like steak is not a problem and does not cause adverse effects.
Can steak help with weight loss?
Yes, the high fat and protein content of steak can keep you satiated for longer, aiding in maintaining a calorie deficit, which is crucial for weight loss.
Does steak provide heme iron?
Yes, steak, as a form of red meat, provides heme iron, which is readily absorbed by the body.
How does steak contribute to overall health?
Steak is rich in vitamin B12, crucial for DNA creation and maintaining red blood cells and nerves healthy. It also contains zinc, essential for the proper functioning of the immune system.
Is it safe to eat steak regularly?
Yes, consuming steak once or even several times a week is a healthy way to acquire essential nutrients, provided it is part of a balanced diet.
Which steak cuts are the healthiest?
Lean cuts over 93% such as flank, tenderloin, sirloin, filet mignon, or top round roast are typically the healthiest.
Should steak with excessive marbling be avoided?
Yes, cuts of steak with excessive marbling may contain higher levels of saturated fat, which should be limited in a healthy diet.
Steak provides substantial amounts of heme iron, a form of iron that is more readily absorbed by the body compared to the non-heme iron found in plant-based sources.
Grass-fed beef steaks contain high amounts of bioavailable omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid, which favorably affect cardiovascular health and body composition.
Steak is a rich source of creatine, a compound that has been scientifically proven to improve athletic abilities and muscle-building.
Despite being high in cholesterol, steak does not pose cholesterol-related health issues for most people, and is a significant source of choline, a nutrient deficiency of which has been an increasing problem.
Steak's high protein and fat content can contribute to satiety, which is beneficial for weight management and weight loss efforts.
Related StudiesRed meat consumption and mortality: results from 2 prospective cohort studies.
This study examined the link between red meat consumption and mortality, concluding that higher red meat intake was associated with increased overall mortality. This supports moderation in red meat consumption.
Associations of fats and carbohydrate intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in 18 countries from five continents (PURE): a prospective cohort study.
This research found that high carbohydrate intake was associated with higher risk of total mortality, whereas total fat and individual types of fat were related to lower total mortality. Link: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)32252-3/fulltext
This review outlined the benefits of protein intake for human health, including muscle synthesis and weight management, indicating that high-protein foods like steak can be beneficial in these areas. Link: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)32252-3/fulltext
Iron and Health.
This comprehensive review highlights the importance of heme iron found in red meat for human health, especially for individuals at risk of iron-deficiency anemia.
Conjugated linoleic acid in adipose tissue and risk of myocardial infarction.
This study explored the relationship between conjugated linoleic acid, a type of fat found in beef, and heart health, indicating potential benefits.
In conclusion, despite the varying opinions surrounding its consumption, steak presents a myriad of nutritional benefits that make it a worthy addition to a balanced diet.
Its high nutrient density, providing essential elements like Vitamin B12, zinc, selenium, iron, and potassium, along with healthy fats and proteins, makes steak a versatile food option.
For those looking to build muscle, the rich content of creatine and essential amino acids in steak are invaluable. Plus, contrary to popular belief, the cholesterol content in steak does not pose a significant health risk for most individuals.
The high satiety level that steak provides can also aid in weight loss efforts, offering an interesting alternative to lean poultry.
While enjoying steak, it's essential to choose the right cuts and ensure that it fits into a varied and balanced diet. As with everything, moderation is key.
The choice of grass-fed beef and lean cuts can optimize the health benefits derived from steak. With a mindful approach to consumption, steak can indeed be a good and healthy dietary option.
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