Ground Beef Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits (2023)

Ground beef is a convenient way to include protein in your diet, and it contains important vitamins and minerals. It is the primary ingredient in many favorite foods from hamburgers to meatballs. But ground beef can be high in calories and saturated fat, and a high intake of red meat can come with health risks. The key to including it in your diet is moderation and managing portion size.

Ground Beef Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDAfor 3 ounces (85g) of cooked ground beef (85% lean), pan-browned, with no added fat or sodium.

  • Calories:218
  • Fat:13g
  • Sodium:76mg
  • Carbohydrates:0g
  • Fiber:0g
  • Sugars:0g
  • Protein:24g

Carbs

Ground beef contains no carbohydrates or fiber.

Fats

Many of the calories in ground beef come from fat. There are 13 total grams of fat in a 3-ounce serving of cooked 85% lean ground beef. Of that total, 5grams are saturated fat. The American Heart Association recommends limiting consumption of saturated fat to 5% to 6% of daily calorie intake. That translates into about 13 grams of saturated fat per day if you eat a diet of 2,000 calories per day.

For context, a classic hamburger is typically somewhere between a quarter pound (4 ounces) to 6 ounces, which would yield 6.7g to 10g saturated fat per burger patty.

Healthier fats in ground beef include monounsaturated fat (6 grams) and polyunsaturated fat (0.4 grams).

Protein

Ground beef is a good source of protein, providing 22grams per 3-ounce serving.

Vitamins and Minerals

Beef is a good source of carnitine, zinc, selenium,iron, and B vitamins.

Health Benefits

The primary health benefits of beef come from the significant protein that it provides, as well as its vitamins and minerals.

Helps Build Cells

Protein is essential for maintaining muscle tissue and for various biological processes that happen in your body every day. This macronutrient helps your body build bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.The seleniumin beef is also essential for DNA synthesis.

(Video) Top Nutrition Facts and Health Effects of Beef

Boosts Immune System

Beef contains several B vitamins, including thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), folate (B9), and cobalamin (B12). These B vitamins, along with the zinc that's also found in beef, are important to maintaining a healthy immune system. Since your body can't store or produce B vitamins, you need to consume them in your diet.

Supports Hormone Production

The B vitamin niacin also aids in the proper function of many body systems, including the production of sex hormones. Selenium is essential for thyroid function.

Replenishes Iron Stores

Your body needs iron to help make red blood cells, among other functions. Dietary iron comes in two forms, non-heme and heme—which is found in beef and other animal proteins. Heme iron is easier for the body to use, so you don't need to consume as much of it (vs. non-heme iron) to help stave off anemia and other problems stemming from low iron.

Allergies

It is possible to be allergic to beef. Those with a meat allergy may experience symptoms including hives, itchy skin, headaches, asthma, or in severe cases, anaphylaxis. Your healthcare provider can provide a wide range of tests to determine whether or not you have a meat allergy, and help you manage it if you do.

Adverse Effects

Eating a diet high in red meat has been associated with cardiovascular and other health problems, including an increased risk of colorectal cancer. These health risks apply to all types of red meat, but are worse for processed red meats such as lunch meat and sausages (which may be made with beef or pork). Therefore, doctors recommend limiting the consumption of red and processed meats.

Varieties

Grass-fed beef appears to have a healthier fat profile, with more beneficial fatty acids, than meat from cattle fed corn and soy feed. But there isn't much published research available on the specific health benefits of grass-fed beef.

Ground beef is available in a range of lean/fat ratios, from 70% lean/30% fat to as little as 3% fat (97% lean). Calorie and fat totals change accordingly. The following nutrition information is for 3 ounces of ground beef, broiled, and is provided by the USDA.

CaloriesTotal Fat (g)Saturated Fat (g)
70% lean235166.2
80% lean230155.8
90% lean184103.9
97% lean1303.81.9

Storage and Food Safety

There is a risk of foodborne bacteria in ground beef as the grinding process can expose more of the meat to any bacteria that are present. The USDA recommends storing ground beef at 40°F or below and using or freezing within two days. To destroy harmful bacteria, always cook ground beef to a minimum internal temperature of 160°F. Avoid partially cooking ground beef, as this allows bacteria to survive and multiply. Use safe food handling practices, such as washing hands, surfaces, and utensils regularly.

Once cooked, refrigerate ground beef promptly, especially if the weather is hot. The beef will keep for three or four days in the refrigerator. Frozen, cooked ground beef can be stored for about four months.

How to Prepare

For best nutritional balance, limit your portion size of beef and combine it with healthy portions of vegetables and/or grains. Try one of these preparation ideas to maximize nutrition:

  • Make a beef sauté. Stir-frying and sautéing are both methods of cooking that use a small amount of hot oil. A healthy stir-fried or sautéed meal would include 3 ounces of lean beeffor each person plus lots of different vegetables and seasonings. The vegetables add volume to your meal, and the seasonings add flavor without added sugar.
  • Add beans and grains to chili. If your favorite chili recipe calls for ground beef, cut back on the amount you use and replace with beans and/or whole grains, such as quinoa, for more fiber and protein.
  • Start with salad. Begin with a big bed of your favorite lettuces and greens and add lots of vegetables, a little cheese, some nuts, and even fruit. Sprinkle on a small amount of cooked ground beef or thinly sliced lean steak. Add a small amount of salad dressing made with olive oil or canola oil. The fresh vegetables add lots of volume and antioxidants; the oils add healthy fats.
  • Make a healthier hamburger. To cut the saturated fat in your burger, combine lean ground turkey with beef. Choose a whole-grain bun and add lots of lettuce, sprouts, tomato slices, mustard, or pickles.

8 Sources

Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Beef, ground, 85% lean meat / 15% fat, crumbles, cooked, pan-browned. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  2. US Department of Agriculture. MyPlate: Nutrients and health benefits.

  3. Clifford J, Curely J. Water-soluble vitamins: B-complex and vitamin C. Colorado State University Extension.

  4. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Iron: Fact sheet for health professionals.

    (Video) Ground Beef Nutrition

  5. American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Meat allergy.

  6. Song M, Garrett WS, Chan AT. Nutrients, foods, and colorectal cancer prevention. Gastroenterology. 2015;148(6):1244-60.e16. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2014.12.035

  7. Wolk A. Potential health hazards of eating red meat. J Intern Med. 2017;281(2):106-122. doi:10.1111/joim.12543

  8. Daley CA, Abbott A, Doyle PS, Nader GA, Larson S. A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutr J. 2010;9:10. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-9-10

Ground Beef Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits (1)

By Shereen Lehman, MS
Shereen Lehman, MS, is a healthcare journalist and fact checker.

(Video) Things you Need to Know about Ground Beef to Promote Good Health | Health And Nutrition

FAQs

What are the health benefits of ground beef? ›

It's exceptionally rich in high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals. Therefore, it may improve muscle growth and maintenance, as well as exercise performance. As a rich source of iron, it may also cut your risk of anemia.

What is the nutritional value of ground beef? ›

Ground beef, cooked contains 325 calories per 125 g serving. This serving contains 21 g of fat, 32 g of protein and 0 g of carbohydrate. The latter is 0 g sugar and 0 g of dietary fiber, the rest is complex carbohydrate. Ground beef, cooked contains 8.1 g of saturated fat and 109 mg of cholesterol per serving.

Is ground beef healthy or unhealthy? ›

Ground beef and turkey are both nutritious meats that provide protein, fat, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.

What percentage of ground beef is healthy? ›

The cut the meat is ground from dictates the amount of fat; sirloin is typically the leanest cut used for ground beef. Select 95 percent extra lean ground beef for the lowest levels of cholesterol and a healthy source of nutrients when eaten in moderation.

What are the health benefits of meat? ›

A healthy balanced diet can include protein from meat, as well as from fish and eggs or non-animal sources such as beans and pulses. Meats such as chicken, pork, lamb and beef are all rich in protein. Red meat provides us with iron, zinc and B vitamins. Meat is one of the main sources of vitamin B12 in the diet.

Is ground beef a good source of protein? ›

Lean ground beef is a source of high-quality protein, and you don't need a lot to get the protein you need. Just 3 ounces delivers 22 grams of protein, along with a healthy dose of iron, zinc and vitamin B12.

Is eating beef good for health? ›

Beef is a good source of protein and other nutrients, but is also high in cholesterol and saturated fats that can cause fatty deposits to build up in the blood. Beef can be a healthy part of your diet, but should be eaten in moderation.

What vitamins and minerals are in beef? ›

Beef contains several essential nutrients including protein, iron, zinc, selenium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, phosphorus, pantothenate, magnesium, and potassium.

What is the nutritional value of 80/20 ground beef? ›

Beef, raw, 80% lean meat / 20% fat, ground contains 287 calories per 113 g serving. This serving contains 23 g of fat, 19 g of protein and 0 g of carbohydrate. The latter is 0 g sugar and 0 g of dietary fiber, the rest is complex carbohydrate.

Is beef good for the heart? ›

Beef is part of a satisfying heart-healthy lifestyle. All beef is a natural source of 10 essential nutrients such as protein, iron, zinc and B vitamins. Research shows that lean beef enjoyed as part of a heart-healthy diet and exercises, can help lower cholesterol, lose weight and lower blood pressure.

What is the healthiest meat to eat? ›

5 of the Healthiest Meats
  1. Sirloin Steak. Sirloin steak is both lean and flavorful – just 3 ounces packs about 25 grams of filling protein! ...
  2. Rotisserie Chicken & Turkey. The rotisserie cooking method helps maximize flavor without relying on unhealthy additives. ...
  3. Chicken Thigh. ...
  4. Pork Chop. ...
  5. Canned Fish.
6 Jan 2020

How often should you eat ground beef? ›

Dietary goal

If you eat red meat, limit consumption to no more than about three portions per week. Three portions is equivalent to about 350–500g (about 12–18oz) cooked weight. Consume very little, if any, processed meat.

Which is better 80/20 or 90 10 ground beef? ›

If it's an all-beef recipe, avoid 90/10, and go for 80/20 or 85/15. Most recipes call for 70/30 or 80/20 ground beef, which makes a rich and juicy burger patty with a good exterior crust.

Is 93/7 ground beef good for you? ›

The leanest options are 90/10 or 93/7 ground sirloin, meaning 90 or 93 percent beef ground from the lean cut of sirloin and 10 or 7 percent fat. Allow for 4 ounces per serving in your recipe for good portion control.

What is the highest quality ground beef? ›

The best ground beef to buy for burgers is 80/20 ground chuck – 80% lean meat and 20% fat. Ground chuck is ground from the shoulder and has that ideal lean-to-fat ratio of 80/20 (i.e. not too lean) for a super flavorful, juicy burger. Ground round comes from the back of the cow, near the tail, upper leg, and rump.

Which part of beef is good for health? ›

Of these, the following are considered extra lean: Eye of round roast and steak. Sirloin tip side steak. Top round roast and steak.

What are the benefits of eating red meat? ›

Red meat is a great source of protein, iron, vitamin B12, zinc, and other important nutrients.

Why does beef make me feel better? ›

Lean red meat contains B-12 for a healthy nervous system and B-6 for a strong immune system, plus niacin and riboflavin (which promotes healthy skin and eyes). So eating red meat can be an important first step towards promoting the health of the different body systems.

How much protein do I need in a day? ›

The recommended dietary allowance to prevent deficiency for an average sedentary adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For example, a person who weighs 165 pounds, or 75 kilograms, should consume 60 grams of protein per day.

Which meat is the highest in protein? ›

You may be surprised to hear that chicken breast has the most protein in it compared to all types of meat. It has an impressive 30.9g of protein per 100g/3.5 ounces.

What is the healthiest meat to eat? ›

5 of the Healthiest Meats
  1. Sirloin Steak. Sirloin steak is both lean and flavorful – just 3 ounces packs about 25 grams of filling protein! ...
  2. Rotisserie Chicken & Turkey. The rotisserie cooking method helps maximize flavor without relying on unhealthy additives. ...
  3. Chicken Thigh. ...
  4. Pork Chop. ...
  5. Canned Fish.
6 Jan 2020

Is beef meat good for health? ›

Beef is a good source of protein and other nutrients, but is also high in cholesterol and saturated fats that can cause fatty deposits to build up in the blood. Beef can be a healthy part of your diet, but should be eaten in moderation.

Is beef healthier than chicken? ›

Beef has a few nutritious advantages over chicken, as it contains more iron and zinc. These substances are essential for our immune systems and brain development. However, chicken is much better for your cardiovascular health, because it has less cholesterol and saturated fat than beef.

What is the healthiest type of ground beef? ›

What's the healthiest ground beef? Ground round and ground sirloin have the lowest fat content and are the two lightest, healthiest options.

Is canned tuna healthy? ›

Is canned tuna fish good for you? Yes, canned tuna is a healthful food rich in protein and contains many vitamins and minerals such as B-Complex vitamins, Vitamins A and D as well as iron, selenium and phosphorus. Tuna also contains healthy omega 3 essential fatty acids DHA and EPA.

What meat is best for your heart? ›

Choose a variety of foods with protein.
  • Seafood — fish and shellfish.
  • Poultry — chicken or turkey breast without skin, or lean ground chicken or turkey (at least 93% lean)
  • Lean meats — like pork shoulder, beef sirloin, or lean ground beef (at least 93% lean)

What drink is good for health? ›

Water is the best choice for quenching your thirst. Coffee and tea, without added sweeteners, are healthy choices, too. Some beverages should be limited or consumed in moderation, including fruit juice, milk, and those made with low-calorie sweeteners, like diet drinks.

Is beef good for blood pressure? ›

Red meat can raise a person's blood pressure. The process of metabolizing red meat in the body may also release compounds that elevate blood pressure even more. The following are all red meats: beef.

What happens if I eat beef daily? ›

Eating too much red meat could be bad for your health. Sizzling steaks and juicy burgers are staples in many people's diets. But research has shown that regularly eating red meat and processed meat can raise the risk of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and certain cancers, especially colorectal cancer.

How often should you eat beef? ›

If you eat red meat, limit consumption to no more than about three portions per week. Three portions is equivalent to about 350–500g (about 12–18oz) cooked weight. Consume very little, if any, processed meat.

Are shrimp healthy to eat? ›

Shrimp is a great food to include in your diet. It's not only high in protein but also low in calories, carbs, and fat. Three ounces (85 grams) of shrimp contain 12 grams of protein and only 60 calories ( 11 ). Shrimp is rich in selenium, choline, and vitamin B12.

What is the healthiest red meat to eat? ›

What is the healthiest red meat?
  • Pork: Choose lean options of pork such as a pork loin, tenderloin and center cut chops. ...
  • Steak: Choose leaner cuts of steak such as flank, round, sirloin, tenderloin and ball tip. ...
  • Ground meat: A variety of meats are available ground – chicken, turkey, pork and beef.
22 Dec 2020

Which ground beef is best? ›

The best ground beef to buy for burgers is 80/20 ground chuck – 80% lean meat and 20% fat. Ground chuck is ground from the shoulder and has that ideal lean-to-fat ratio of 80/20 (i.e. not too lean) for a super flavorful, juicy burger. Ground round comes from the back of the cow, near the tail, upper leg, and rump.

Is 93/7 ground beef good for you? ›

The leanest options are 90/10 or 93/7 ground sirloin, meaning 90 or 93 percent beef ground from the lean cut of sirloin and 10 or 7 percent fat. Allow for 4 ounces per serving in your recipe for good portion control.

Which is better 80/20 or 90 10 ground beef? ›

If it's an all-beef recipe, avoid 90/10, and go for 80/20 or 85/15. Most recipes call for 70/30 or 80/20 ground beef, which makes a rich and juicy burger patty with a good exterior crust.

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