Is Ground Beef Bad For You?

Ground beef has gotten a bad reputation lately. It is often considered one of the worst ground meat options, with ground turkey and chicken being hailed as better alternatives. But is it really as bad for you as you've been led to believe? Here's what you should know.

According to Livestrong, one of the most questionable parts of ground beef is its saturated fat content. This type of meat is much higher in saturated fat than other poultry or plant-based options. A diet high in saturated fat can increase your risk of high cholesterol, which may increase your risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends keeping your saturated fat intake under 13 grams per day (via American Heart Association). The amount of saturated fat in ground beef can vary greatly, so it is important that you read the label carefully to know how much you're getting in one serving size.

According to Eat This, Not That!, eating a lot of ground beef can also increase inflammation in the body, reduce focus, increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer, and shorten your lifespan.

Ground beef isn't pure evil

That all being said, most of ground beef's negative effects come from eating a substantial amount every day. When eaten in moderation, this food can offer many health benefits. For one, it is extremely high in protein. According to Eat This, Not That!, an average-sized burger made with 80% lean and 20% fat ground beef contains about 20 grams of protein. That's almost half the recommended daily amount for a sedentary male or female.

According to Healthline, red meat is "one of the most nutritious foods you can eat." It contains vitamins B3, B12, and B6, as well as iron, zinc, selenium, and other vitamins and minerals in small amounts. Red meat also has creatine and carnosine, which are two nutrients that can affect muscle and brain function. Ground beef can also boost the immune system, help your body build cells, support hormone production, and replenish your iron stores (via Verywell Fit). Grass-fed beef is the most nutritious and tends to contain the least amount of hormones or additives.