July 11, 2024

If you’re worried about your health or trying to lose weight, you might believe red meat is off-limits, but leaner cuts of beef in moderation can indeed be part of a balanced diet.

Lean Cuts are beef cuts with the least amount of fat.

While the best cuts of beef are those with more fat, lean cuts of beef can not only be healthier but can also be tasty.

Here’s a guide of various lean cuts of beef, their advantages, and how to incorporate them into your diet.

What Is Lean Cut Beef? 

The terms “lean” and “extra lean” refer to the amount of fat and cholesterol per each serving of beef. In a 3.5-ounce serving of lean beef, there shouldn’t be more than 10g of total fat, 4.5g of trans fat, and 95 mg of cholesterol. To be considered extra lean, each 3.5-ounce serving must have less than 5g of fat, 2g of saturated fat, and 95 mg  of cholesterol to qualify as extra lean. While these principles appear straightforward, beef purchased directly from a butcher generally lacks a nutrition label.

Selecting Lean Cut Beef

Nowadays, many beef cuts meet the  USDA standards and can be classified as lean or extra lean. The following parts are thought to be lean:

Shoulder or Chuck 

Shoulder or arm roasts or steaks are made from the chuck portion. Roasts are thick slices of beef, whereas steaks are thin slices. Lean beef cuts out from chuck include shoulder ranch steaks, shoulder tender roasts, and medallions, that are small round steaks.

Front Leg Or The Shank 

Lean beef cuts called shank crosscuts are taken from the front leg.

The Back Or The Short Loin

The short loin portion is where the tenderloin steak that is used in dishes like filet mignon is found. This section also offers lean cuts like top loin or strip steak and T-bone steak. These are some of the most well-liked lean beef cuts, and they might even be your favorites.

The Lower Back Or The Sirloin 

The sirloin portion is used to make the tri-tip roast or steak, sirloin center-cut roast or steak, and top sirloin steak. These portions are juicy and flavorful and are perfect for stir-fries. The top sirloin steak is one of the beef cuts with the least fat.

Abdomen Or The Flank 

The flank region is located below the belly. The flank steak you get from this section can be used to make beef stir-fries.

Round or the Hind leg

The round is the beef’s hind quarter, which includes the back legs. The eye of round roast or steak, top round roast or steak, bottom round roast or steak, and sirloin tip side steak are among the extra-lean cuts from this section.

The rib and belly parts of beef do not contain any lean alternatives due to their high fat content. Various lean beef cuts may have different names across different locations. Top loin steaks are also referred to as club sirloin steaks or strip steaks.

Why Is Lean Cut Beef Healthier? 

According to research, red meat like beef is bad for your health because it contains a lot of fat and cholesterol. An increased risk of heart issues like coronary heart disease is linked to consuming too much red meat.

However, research indicates that lean beef has a low saturated fat content. Lean cuts of beef, according to research, can stop the release of blood-related factors if you eat a low-fat diet.

It can lower your body’s levels of harmful cholesterol connected to heart issues.

Benefits of Lean Cut Beef

Some of the healthy benefits of Lean Cut beef include:

  • It is a great source of protein that promotes muscle growth. 
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, which are very important for cardiac health, are also abundant in lean cut beef.
  • Zinc and iron, two minerals found in lean beef, help your cells grow healthily and strengthen your immune system.
  • Niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 are vital B vitamins found in lean cut beef. They ensure that your cells are functioning properly, which promotes wellbeing.

It is preferable to opt for lean beef in your diet since they are healthier. However, it is advisable to consume them moderately. 

Tips On Choosing Lean Cut Beef

  • You can always ask your butcher for the leanest cuts; your butcher will know what to do. You can also serve thin layers if you prefer a fattier cut to ensure that you are consuming less fat. Simply reduce the serving size; aim for 2-ounce portions on fattier cuts.
  • Look at the nutrition information on any pre-packaged cuts you are considering. These labels must adhere to USDA guidelines. The cuts won’t be designated as lean or extra lean if they have high levels of fat and cholesterol.
  • The words “round,” “loin,” or “chuck” on the label are a good indicator that the cut of beef is lean or extra lean. Typically, prime cuts contain more fat, so do your best to avoid them. 
  • Choose 90% or 95% lean ground beef with the least amount of fat when making your selection.
  • Avoid eating liver and other fatty organ meats as well.
  • When at a restaurant, ask your server or the chef to suggest low-fat or lean meat options.

Preparing Beef Cuts 

Even the leanest cuts of beef can ruin your diet if you cook them improperly. Here are a few quick methods for preparing beef cuts:

  • Before preparing and eating meat, trim off any visible, solid fat. Then, remove any visible fat that is left over.
  • After cooking, drain the fat from the ground meat by placing it in a strainer or colander. Then use hot water to rinse the meat. To get the water off the meat, blot it with a paper towel.
  • After cooking, put the beef juices in the refrigerator so you can skim the frozen fat off and discard it.The juice can then be added to gravy, soups, and stews.


Don’t overindulge, even if you select lean or extra-lean cuts of beef. Whenever possible, include moderate amounts of beef in your diet. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults eat no more than 156g – 170g  of cooked lean meat, seafood, or skinless poultry every day.

Consider your diet’s beef as a side dish rather than the main.

 Also, keep in mind to eat a variety of protein-rich foods, such as fish, beans, and skinless poultry.

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