Meet Meat: Which One is Better For Me?

Turkey, beef, pork, chicken: what’s the difference?  When it comes nutrition, this is a bit of a complex issue.  Meat is meat is meat, right?  Why does Meaningfull Foods choose a variety of meats for your weekly meals? 

Simply put, our bodies need diverse sources of fats and proteins in order to maintain healthy levels of amino acids.  These are the materials our bodies use to build strong and efficiently functioning systems that keep us at optimal health.  Human bodies have the incredible ability to make almost all of the amino acids we need for optimal health, but there are 6 out of 20 that our bodies cannot create.

Each protein source contains different types of fats and amino acids than others.  So we turn  to a variety of outside sources to make up the difference.  Without enough diverse protein food sources in your diet, you risk becoming deficient in certain amino acids.  The result?  Low energy, trouble building muscle mass, low concentration and memory, mood swings, unstable blood sugar levels and trouble maintaining or losing weight. 

The bottom line, is UNsaturated fats are great for maintaining good insulin and cholesterol levels while saturated fats do a little more than increase the “bad” cholesterol in our blood.  Polyunsaturated fats are the greatest source of the happy Omega fatty acids that are most beneficial to us.

MF serves an average of 127g of meat in each meal.  Here is a look at the protein and fat contents of each type of meat we prepare:         

Type of Meat

Protein (g)

Fat (g)

% Saturated, Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats

Lean Beef Steak

35g

11.3g

44%, 47%, 2.7%

Lean Ground Beef

35g

12.7g

44%, 47%, 2.7%

Pork

33g

18.0g

35%, 44%, 10%

Chicken Breast

30g

9.0g

21%, 24%, 20%

Ground Turkey

28g

11.4g

21%, 24%, 20%

Fats and proteins are not the only benefits we get from animal food sources.  Micronutrients are trace minerals and vitamins found in all of the foods we consume. they pack a big punch and are vital to our body’s peak performance.  Beef contains relatively high amounts of iron, folate, niacin and other b-vitamins, vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and copper.  Poultry, on the other hand, contains a high amount of niacin and other b-vitamins as well as selenium.  Pork also contains niacin and other b-vitamins and selenium as well as phosphorous and zinc . 

Let's take a closer look at the relationship of micronutrients and fats.  We find that red meat is particularly high in a form of Iron that is more easily absorbed by the body than Iron that is found in plant sources like spinach. The cholesterol in red meats does something truly magical: it helps your body absorb and utilize Vitamin D from the sun!  This is so important for us PNW’ers!  Just think, every time you eat a bite of steak in the sunshine, you are doing yourself a huge favor!

The Takeaway

Clearly, this is a topic with a lot of factors to consider; far more than we can cover here.  For those of us that have always assumed that chicken is the healthiest option, we have much more to look at than we thought.  The bottom line for FKD is that the more diversity we have in our diets, the more likely we are to get everything we need to be at our tip-top fitness level.  Stay tuned for a deeper look into some of the other factors that affect the nutritional value of your delicious Meaningfull Food meals!