Tuesday 19 September 2023

The Best & Worst Cuts of Steak—Ranked by Nutrition!

 Whether it's grilling season or not, a big juicy steak is a sought-after menu item. In fact, a recent survey by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association found that 48% of consumers eat steak at least once a week. But what is all that red meat doing for your health? To find out, we have to take a closer look at steak's nutrition information.

The good news is that beef, including steak, offers a wide range of essential nutrients and is an excellent source of protein. Even the worst cut of steak has plenty of nutritional benefits. For instance, while the ribeye is highest in total fat and saturated fat, "it's packed full not only with protein, but with healthy fat-soluble vitamins, iron, and vitamin B12," says Lara Clevenger MSH, RDN, CPT, which can make it a nutrient-rich option to eat in moderation.

Even though steak is a great source of protein and other nutrients, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, eating more than 18 ounces of red meat each week can increase your cancer risk. When eating steak, and other red meat, keep in mind that the overall amount of any cut of steak, and the frequency it's eaten makes a difference in your health.

To help you make healthier choices when you're shopping for your next steak at the butcher's counter, we ranked the 11 most popular cuts of steak from worst to best considering calories, total fat, and saturated fat.  


The #1 Unhealthiest Steak: Ribeye Steak

ribeye steak
PER 100-GRAM SERVING: 289 calories, 22 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 361 mg sodium,0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0g sugar), 24 g protein

There's a reason this rich-tasting steak is so sought after (and ranks top of our list for the unhealthiest). Sold as a prime rib when served as a rib roast or a Tomahawk when left on the bone, it's highly marbled with fat, making each bite rich and juicy. Each 100-gram serving (about 3.5 ounces) of ribeye steak has 10 grams of saturated fat, almost 50% of the recommended daily limit. While you don't have to avoid this steak altogether, avoid the 16-ounce servings often sold in restaurants and select a reasonable 3 to 5-ounce portion instead. 


Delmonico Steak (Chuck Eye)

chuck eye steak
PER 100-GRAM SERVING: 235 calories, 17 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 60 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0g sugar), 21 g protein

Each 3.5-ounce portion of Delmonico or Chuck Eye Steak has 17 grams of fat and 7 grams of saturated fat. While this is only 32% of the DV for saturated fat, a typical serving of Delmonico is closer to 10 ounces, which comes in just under 100% of the recommended limit for saturated fat. Ask for a smaller portion of this tender cut of steak or order it to share.


T-Bone & Porterhouse Steaks

t-bone steak
PER 3-OUNCE SERVING: 250 calories,18 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 54 mg sodium, 0g carbs ( 0g fiber, 0g sugar), 21 g protein

Also known as a Porterhouse or King steak, this cut has a signature "T" dividing a New York Strip and filet mignon. Each 3-ounce serving has 7 grams of saturated fat, or 32% of the DV. However, a T-bone steak is seldom served in this small of a size, as a typical T-bone is between 12 and 18 ounces, the maximum amount of red meat that's recommended to eat in an entire week. 


Skirt Steak

skirt steak
PER 100-GRAM SERVING: 253 calories,15 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 63mg sodium, 0g carbs ( 0g fiber,0 g sugar), 29g protein

Skirt steak is higher in protein than many other cuts while having just 6 grams, or 27% of the DV, of saturated fat per 100-gram serving. While it's leaner than many other cuts of steak, it does still have 15 grams of fat per serving. The higher muscle percentage in this meat adds more protein but also adds a little more toughness compared to cuts that are even higher in fat and lower in protein.


Flap Steak

flap steak
PER 100-GRAM SERVING: 196 calories,13 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 49mg sodium, 0g carbs ( 0g fiber, 0g sugar), 20 g protein

"Packed with flavor, this lean cut provides a protein punch without breaking the bank," says Jessie Hulsey RD, LD, an Atlanta-based registered dietitian. Each 100-gram serving of Flap Steak has just 4 grams of saturated fat, the equivalent of 18% of the recommended daily limit. "It's not only a wallet-friendly option, but also a great source of protein, iron, and B vitamins, essential for a balanced diet," Hulsey adds.


Flat Iron Steak

flat iron steak
PER 100-GRAM SERVING: 228 calories,14 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 78mg sodium, 0g carbs ( 0g fiber,0 g sugar), 25g protein

Flat Iron steak is also known as a Boneless Top Chuck steak, as it's taken from the top blade. While not a super tough cut of meat, it is lower in fat and does have a section of tough gristle that needs to be removed. "These cuts tend to be less expensive and cooking them low and slow brings out their rich collagen, adding flavor without needing lots of extra fats," says Celine Thompson, MS, RDN


Top Sirloin Steak

top sirloin steak
PER 100-GRAM SERVING: 219 calories, 11 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 58mg sodium, 0g carbs ( 0g fiber, 0g sugar), 29g protein

Top sirloin is a super versatile cut of steak that's relatively budget-friendly, tastes great grilled, and is also pretty low in fat with just 11 grams total and 4 grams of saturated fat per 100-gram serving. The fat content can change depending on trimming and the variation you select, but overall it's one of the healthiest tender cuts.


Filet Mignon

filet mignon
PER 100-GRAM SERVING: 217 calories, 10g fat ( 4g saturated fat), 58mg sodium, 0g carbs ( 0g fiber, 0g sugar), 30g protein

"Filet Mignon is a very lean cut of beef and contains less fat compared to other cuts like ribeye or T-bone steak," says Wan Na Chun, MPH, RD, CPT of One Pot Wellness. While it does have a reputation for being a lean cut, Filet Mignon gets its tender buttery texture and juicy flavor from 10 grams of fat, 4 grams of that saturated. This lower fat content can make it a healthier option for those looking to reduce their saturated fat intake, too much of which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, adds Chun.


Bottom Round Steak

bottom round steak
PER 100-GRAM SERVING: 191 calories, 8g fat (3 g saturated fat), 57mg sodium, 0g carbs ( 0g fiber, 0g sugar), 27.2 g protein

For a low-fat and high-protein cut, try the Bottom Round Steak. With just 8 grams of total fat and only 3 grams of saturated fat, a 100-gram or 3.5-ounce serving with only provide 14% of your total recommended limit of saturated fat. These are excellent cuts to marinate and serve family style, allowing you to easily serve a healthy 3-5 ounce portion.


New York Strip Steak

new york strip steak
PER 100-GRAM SERVING: 150 calories, 6 g fat (3 g saturated fat),45 mg sodium, 0g carbs ( 0g fiber, 0g sugar), 23 g protein

New York Strip is one of the leanest cuts of steak that's also high in protein with 23 grams per 100-gram, or 3.5-ounce serving. You may also see this cut called Kansas City steak, Hotel-style steak, top loin, or shell steak. Even without the high amount of fat, it has a buttery texture and full flavor. 


The #1 Healthiest Steak: London Broil

london broil
PER 100-GRAM SERVING: 216 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 45 mg sodium, 0g carbs ( 0g fiber, 0g sugar), 36g protein

Top round steaks, also known as a London Broil, come from well-used muscles, making them a high protein, low fat cut. With just 7 grams of fat per serving, but a massive 36 grams of protein, these cuts can be tough, unless they're made the right way. For a tender and juicy London Broil, do exactly as the name suggests and broil or braise it low and slow to help break down the tough muscle fibers.

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