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Is Steak Good for Weight Loss? The Best and Worst Cuts of Meat

One of the keys to shedding extra pounds is eating the right foods. We know high-protein foods like meat can help us lose weight and maintain muscles. Steak is a delicious high-protein food, but is steak good for weight loss? This article will answer this question, introduce the cuts of meat you can consume to lose weight, and offer cooking techniques to help weight loss.

Is Steak Good for Weight Loss? The Best and Worst Cuts of Meat
Highlights
  • Steak can be a part of your weight loss diet, but you should consume it mindfully.
  • Lean cuts of steak are rich in protein and essential nutrients, increasing satiety, which helps reduce caloric intake.
  • Steak's protein content supports muscle development, enhances metabolism, and leads to weight loss.
  • Choose healthier cooking methods like grilling, broiling, baking, or roasting to avoid extra calories.

Is Steak Good for Weight Loss?

Surprisingly, yes! Steak can be a part of your weight loss diet because when you eat steak, you're getting a lot of protein.

Protein is harder for your body to digest than fats or carbohydrates, so your body burns more calories just trying to break it down.

Research also shows that high-protein diets can make you feel fuller for longer, which is great for sticking to a weight loss plan and reducing your urge to snack later on [1].

While steak is helpful for weight loss because of its protein, it also contains other important nutrients that are good for your overall health.

Nutrients You Get From Steak

Steak contains essential nutrients that are beneficial for your body, such as improved nerve function, digestion, and immune support. Let's take a closer look at the nutrients in 100 grams of cooked steak [2].

ProteinCarbohydrateCalciumFatVitamin B-6Vitamin B-12Vitamin EVitamin DVitamin K
28 g 0 g 15 mg 11.3 g 0.664 mg 1.82 µg 0.29 mg 0.2 µg 1.6 µg

As you can see, steak is an excellent source of several nutrients. It's important to note that the exact nutritional content can vary based on your cooking method and the cut of meat. So, let’s get to know different types of steak and find out which ones are better for weight loss.

Types of Steak

The steak comes in many different types, and each one has its own taste and nutritional content. These are some of the most popular types of steak:

  • Filet Mignon: It is a lean cut with less fat than many other steaks.
  • Kansas City Strip: It has a good balance of flavor and tenderness.
  • Ribeye: Ribeye steaks are known for their rich, juicy flavor due to their high fat content.
  • T-Bone: A T-bone steak includes a T-shaped bone with meat on either side, offering a mix of textures.
  • Porterhouse: Larger than a T-bone, Porterhouse steaks provide more tenderloin.
  • Top Sirloin: This cut is leaner and is a good choice for those looking for a healthier option.
  • Flat Iron: Taken from the shoulder, flat iron is known for its rich flavor and tenderness.
  • Tomahawk: This is a larger cut with the rib bone attached, known for its impressive presentation and flavor.
  • Eye of Round: Eye of round steak is a lean, boneless cut of beef from the back leg of a cow. It's a small roast cut that's about 1–1.5 inches thick and has a natural, circle-like appearance.
  • Sirloin Tip: Sirloin tip is also known as Knuckle or Round Tip. It’s a lean, boneless cut of beef that is often used as roasts, which are great when braised but can also be cut into steaks or used to make ground beef.
  • Top Round: It’s an inexpensive cut that comes from the rump and hind legs. The muscles in this area are used for movement, so the beef is leaner and less tender.
  • Bottom Round: A bottom round steak is a lean and affordable cut of beef from the hind leg of a cow, specifically the bottom section of the round primal cut.

Learn More: High-Fat Carnivore Diet: Is It Healthy?

The table below shows how many calories, fats, cholesterol, and protein are in different types of steak in 3 oz (85g) [3]:

Type of SteakCaloriesTotal Fat (g)Cholesterol (mg)Protein (g)
Filet Mignon 227 15 82 22
Kansas City Strip 264 19 67 22
Ribeye 230 16 66 21
T-Bone 246 17 71 21
Porterhouse 235 15 70.64 21.65
Top Sirloin 207 12 78 23
Flat Iron 189 11 71 21
Tomahawk 247 19 69 20
Eye of Round 135 3.8 66 25
Sirloin Tip 510 31 110 37
Top Round 173 7.7 77 26
Bottom Round 165 10.5 63.8 17.3

So, which of these types of steak are best if you want to lose weight and enjoy great taste?

The Best Cuts of Meat for Weight Loss

Generally, leaner cuts are the best kinds of steak for weight loss, as they have higher levels of protein and lower fat content [4].

A lean cut of beef usually has less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, and 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 3.5-ounce serving.

Extra-lean cuts go even further, with less than 5 grams of total fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, and 95 milligrams of cholesterol [5]​​​​. Some of the best lean and extra-lean steak options for weight loss are:

  • Eye of round steak
  • Sirloin tip
  • Top round
  • Bottom round
  • Top sirloin

By trimming and draining excess fat, you can reduce the fat content even more [6]. But how exactly do these types of steak help weight loss?

The Benefits of Eating Steak for Weight Loss

Steak is a good food for weight loss because it's full of nutrients, especially protein, which keeps you full and helps burn calories [7].

Let's get into details and see how protein affects weight loss and what advantages eating steak can offer.

Steak Contains High Amounts of Protein

Protein helps you burn more calories and keeps you satiated longer, so you eat less, which means lower caloric intake. Research shows that eating more protein can keep your muscle mass and help decrease blood pressure [8].

Steak Can Help Satiety and Reduce Snacking

The protein in steak can help stabilize blood sugar levels and control cravings for unhealthy snacks by influencing hormones like GLP-1 and PYY, which signal to your brain that you're full, helping appetite control and preventing overeating.

Also, stable blood sugar levels play a role in regulating hormones like insulin, helping to prevent insulin resistance, reducing the risk of diabetes, and maintaining steady energy levels, which lowers the need for eating and snacking every now and then [9].

Steak Helps Muscle Building

Steak provides high-quality protein with all the essential amino acids needed for muscle growth. These amino acids repair and rebuild muscles after exercise, leading to increased muscle mass and strength [10].

Steak Contains Iron and Selenium

Steak is rich in iron and selenium, which help weight management and improve health.

Iron is responsible for carrying oxygen to cells and creating new blood cells. Iron shortage can slow down metabolism and hinder weight loss.

Eating steak, which provides about 33% of daily iron needs in a 3-oz serving, along with other iron-rich foods, is an effective way to boost iron intake, support a healthy metabolism, and boost weight loss [11].

Selenium in steak is key for thyroid health, which regulates metabolism and weight. People with obesity or iron deficiency often lack selenium.

Studies show that selenium helps with obesity by reducing fat accumulation, fighting inflammation, and balancing gut bacteria, which is crucial for managing weight and iron levels [12].

We have focused on steak, but it doesn’t mean other kinds of meat are not good for weight loss.

'Meat saved our lives': These people lost 200 lbs and healed 5 common chronic diseases with Carnivore.

Steak vs. Other Meats

The table below compares the nutritional content of steak with other meats such as fish, chicken, pork, turkey, salmon, and lamb. This table includes information on protein, fat, iron, zinc, and cholesterol levels in 100 grams of these meats [13].

Type of MeatProtein (g)Fat (g)Iron (mg)Zinc (mg)Cholesterol (mg)
Steak 24.85 19.02 2.4 6.34 78
Chicken 27.3 13.6 1.26 1.94 88
Pork 27.32 13.92 0.87 2.39 80
Turkey 28.55 7.39 1.09 2.48 109
Salmon 22.1 12.35 0.34 0.43 63
Lamb 24.52 20.94 1.88 4.46 97

While almost all kinds of meat contain protein, steak, chicken, pork, and turkey generally have higher amounts. Lamb has the most fat content, followed by pork and steak, with salmon and turkey being leaner and healthier options.

Regarding iron and zinc, steak and lamb are richer, whereas chicken, pork, and turkey have moderate levels, and salmon has the lowest.

Regarding cholesterol, turkey and lamb are at the top of the chart. Chicken, pork, and steak have less, and salmon has the least amount of cholesterol.

Another important point that affects if steak can be a good food for weight loss is how you cook it.

How to Eat Steak for Weight Loss?

If you’re considering including steak in your weight loss diet, you should pay attention to the following tips.

Serving Size is Important

When including steak in a weight loss diet, serving size is crucial. The proper portion depends on your goals and needs, and consulting a registered dietitian can help.

However, it's recommended to stick to a portion of about 3-4 ounces of cooked steak, as this amount helps manage calorie intake effectively without overdoing it.

Keeping your steak servings moderate ensures that you enjoy the benefits of its protein and nutrients while keeping an eye on calories, which is essential for weight loss [14].

Choose the Proper Cooking Method

Healthier cooking options like grilling, broiling, baking, or roasting are recommended because these methods help reduce the amount of fat and calories in your steak.

For example, grilling or broiling allows excess fat to drip away from the meat, resulting in a leaner piece of steak. It's important to avoid charring the steak, as it can have negative health effects [15]. 

Avoid High-Calorie Toppings

Rich sauces like béchamel or demi-glace are packed with fat and calories, which can quickly add up.

Instead, choose lighter alternatives, such as tomato sauce, salsa, or a vinaigrette, which can enhance the flavor without adding extra calories.

Additionally, be cautious with butter; even a small pat can increase calorie content significantly. Instead, use herbs, spices, or a squeeze of lemon juice for flavor.

Also, instead of high-calorie side dishes like mashed potatoes or fried onion rings, choose healthier options like steamed vegetables, roasted potatoes, or a fresh salad to complement your steak.

These choices not only reduce the overall calorie count of your meal but also add valuable nutrients and fiber, supporting your weight loss efforts.

Another factor to consider when including steak in your weight loss plan is that some cuts of meat are not suitable for weight loss.

The Worst Cuts of Meat for Weight Loss 

Some cuts of meat can slow down your weight loss progress because they contain a lot of fat or calories.

Eating too much fat can make it harder to lose weight because it has lots of calories and can raise the risks of heart problems.

Here are some of these high-fat, high-calorie cuts of meat [16]:

  • Ribeye Steak: Ribeye steak is delicious, but if you're trying to lose weight, it might not be a good choice. A small piece of ribeye (about 3.5 ounces) has about 16 grams of fat,  which is too many calories and not good for losing weight. 
  • Delmonico Steak: Delmonico steak is another tasty but not-so-great option for weight loss. A small piece (around 3.5 ounces) has about 7 grams of unhealthy saturated fats. Also, it's pretty calorie-heavy, with 235 calories per 100 grams.
  • T-Bone Steak: Known as T-bone, Porterhouse, or King steak, it's not a good choice, as it has 7 grams of unhealthy fat and 246 calories in one serving, which can easily add to the total number of calories you eat in a day.

Of course, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat meat. But you should consider the number of calories and the amount of fat you consume.

In fact, you can choose to have a high-meat, low-carb diet or not eat meat at all. These are two effective choices for weight loss. Let’s see what are their pros and cons.

High-Meat, Low-Carb Diets vs. Non-Meat Diets

The High-Meat, Low-Carb (HMLC) diet is all about eating less carbs and more protein, mostly from animals.

This dietary approach is often associated with ketogenic diets, like Keto and Carnivore, which help you lose weight by making your body use fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.

This change can lead to ketosis and quick weight loss. Learn more about the Carnivore diet and its benefits.

One big reason people lose weight on an HMLC diet is that protein makes them feel full, so they eat fewer calories [17].

Non-meat diets, like vegan or vegetarian diets, focus on eating less or no meat and more plant-based foods like fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, and grains.

These diets help with weight loss in a few ways: they make you eat fewer calories, and the fiber in these foods helps you feel full, so you eat less [18].

These diets don't just help with weight loss; they also have other health benefits. They contain antioxidants, minerals, and fiber that can lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers [19].

But there can be some downsides to non-meat diets. You might not get enough nutrients like vitamin B12, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are mostly found in animal foods [20].

Conclusion

So, the answer to the question, “Is steak good for weight loss?” is yes, but lower fat (leaner) cuts of meat made by grilling, broiling, baking, or roasting can be more helpful.

Lean cuts of steak are rich in protein and essential nutrients, promoting fullness, reducing calorie intake, and helping muscle development. The high protein content also enhances calorie burning and curbs cravings.

It's recommended to consult a healthcare expert for personalized advice based on your food preferences and calorie needs.

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