Q: Is it ok to eat red meat as an alternative to chicken or is it too fattening?
A: Red meats offer some great potential for bodybuilders. They are high in iron, which carries oxygen in the blood and muscle, as well as zinc and b-vitamins. And did you realize that beef is also a great source of creatine? In fact, it has a higher creatine content than any other food. In addition, beef contains carnitine, which helps enhance fat metabolism. Of course, it’s pretty high in protein, too. Red meat can also, of course, be extremely fattening. But it is also possible to find red meats that are also very lean. So, rather than writing off red meat altogether, concentrate on lean cuts and you’ll be pretty safe. So which cuts are best? Lets take a look at the options when it comes to selecting a cut of beef:
Chuck Cut – this cut comes from the upper shoulder area of the cow. It is a tough cut that contains plenty of collagen. When it breaks down during cooking, the collagen gives this meat it’s flavor. Blade steak is a chuck cut that makes a great roast. 3 oz of chuck*** contains 282 calories, 23.3 grams of protein, 0 carbohydrates and 20.2 grams of fat.
Brisket Cut – this cut comes from the hip and upper front limb area of the cow. It is a tough, chewy meat normally used for corned beef. 3 oz of brisket will give you 309 calories, 21.3 grams of protein, 0 carbs and a whopping 24.2 grams of fat.
Rib Cut – this is a tender and flavorful cut that can be roasted, sauteed, pan-fried, broiled, or grilled. It is available with or without the bone. 3 oz will give you 306 calories, 18.6 grams of protein, 0 carbs and 25.1 grams of fat.
Short Loin Cut – these cuts are extremely tender. From the rear end of the short loin comes porterhouse steaks. T-bone steak comes from the mid portion of the short loin and club steak is cut from the rib end of the short loin. 3 oz of short loin (t-bone) will provide you with 263 calories, 19.6 grams of protein, 0 carbs and 19.8 grams of fat.
Sirloin Cut – the sirloin is located where the back bone connects to the hip bone. Sirloin steaks are available with bone in or out. Sirloin top roasts are especially tender. Cuts of sirloin are large enough for the whole family. 3 oz of sirloin steak will provide 219 calories, 23.6 grams of protein, 0 carbohydrate and 13 grams of fat.
Flank Cut – now we’re getting there. This is a lean, muscular cut that is a little tough but also has plenty of flavor. Flank steaks are ideally cooked to medium rare. 3 oz will give you 192 calories, 22.4 grams of protein, 0 carbs and just 10.6 grams of fat.
Round Cut – Paydirt! Round cuts are even leaner than flank. They comes in two varieties – top round, which is the most tender, and rump roast, which is very popular for post roasts. 3 oz of top round will provide 184 calories, 25.6 grams of protein, 0 carbs and only 8.1 grams of fat.
From the above we can clearly see that the best choices as far as lean cuts go are flank and roast. Now for phase two. When you’re in the store browsing through the meats, keep an eye out for some special labeling on the packaging. If the American Heart Association’s healthy heart logo or the USDA lite sticker are on the packet, then it’s a pretty safe bet to toss it into your shopping cart. Such cuts are likely to have come from specially bred ‘free range’ or ‘hormone free’ beef. As a bonus they cook in one third the time of regular beef. But don’t be surprised to find yourself paying substantially more for these leaner cuts.
So, now that you’ve got the meat, what are you going to do with it. The first thing is to trim off all the visible fat. Then, when it comes to cooking the meat, use a grilling, broiling or roasting method that reduces fat (grilling machines can be a real help).