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What is lean beef?

Keri Gans
Nutrition & Dietetics
The USDA defines lean beef as having less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 3½-ounce serving.
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Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics

Lean meats are based on the cuts of meat. Leaner grades of meat contain less marbling which is called “select” grade. Check the nutrition facts label for the percentage of lean. 80% lean ground beef contains about 20% fat and 95% lean ground beef contains 5% fat, so you will be looking for the higher percentage lean to get the lowest fat content. Percent lean refers to the actual weight of the lean meat in relation to the fat content. Lean cuts of beef round, sirloin, top loin, tenderloin, flank, and chuck. 

Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics

There are 29 cuts of beef that meet the government labeling guidelines for lean. Many are cuts you are probably already eating, such as flank steak, T-bone steak, and sirloin steak. According to government guidelines, a serving qualifies as "extra lean" if it has less than 5g total fat, 2g or less saturated fat and less than 95mg cholesterol per 3.5 oz. serving. A serving qualifies as "lean" if it has less than 10g total fat, 4.5g or less saturated fat and less than 95mg cholesterol per 3.5 oz. serving.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.