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Debunking 4 Common Myths about Beef

As a registered dietitian (RD), you can imagine that I get asked a variety of questions about all types of food, including beef. With all the information, and misinformation, on the internet and television, it is not a surprise that consumers are receiving mixed messages about beef nutrition. To better help everyone, I will debunk the 4 most common myths I hear and frequently get asked about beef.

Myth #1: The only nutrients found in beef are fat and cholesterol.

Truth: While beef does provide some fat and cholesterol, beef also provides 10 essential nutrients that we need in our diets every single day. Have you heard about Beef’s Big 10? I bet you didn’t know that beef contains important B-vitamins such as B6, B12, Niacin, and Riboflavin. Beef also contains Choline and important minerals such as Zinc, Phosphorous, Selenium, and Iron (a mineral that helps your red blood cells transport and use oxygen).

Last, but certainly not least is protein. Beef is a source of high-quality protein, meaning that it provides us with all the essential amino acids (i.e. building blocks of protein) that we need every single day. Protein is a nutrient that we need in larger quantities in our diet because our bodies do not store it. The next time you are questioning the nutritional value of beef, come see me and we can talk more about the 10 essential nutrients found in beef.

Myth #2: Beef does not contain any healthy fat.

Truth: Not true! Like other foods, beef also contains a mixture of fats, including healthy fats such as mono- and polyunsaturated fat. These types of fat are the same kind of fat that you would find in foods such as salmon, avocado, olive oil, flaxseed, nuts and seeds.

Myth #3: I have high cholesterol, so I can never eat beef.

Truth: Cholesterol is naturally made by our bodies and is also obtained from various foods in our diet like eggs, ice cream, whole milk, etc. While beef does contain some cholesterol, you can still fit it into your diet by choosing leaner cuts such as flank steak, top sirloin steak, or a tenderloin filet. Still unsure what cuts are lean? Talk to your local butcher to find a lean cut and work with your doctor and registered dietitian (RD) to customize a diet plan that helps you meet your cholesterol goals.

Myth #4: Beef is not a great choice for a pre/post-workout meal.

Truth: False! Beef can be a great option to help fuel your workouts or to help you recover from them. If you are using beef as a pre-workout meal, be sure to eat it ahead of time (3-4 hours) and combine it with other food sources such as fruits, vegetables, and a grain to get a balance of nutrients. If you are using beef to help you recover from your workout, try to consume it within the first 30 minutes to 1 hour (post-exercise) to get the best benefits for your muscles. The high-quality protein found in beef (about 25 g for a 3-oz. serving) will help to build muscle and recover from exercise, so eat up!

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