Is Turkey Healthier Than Steak?

Question: Is Turkey Healthier than Steak?


In short, no one type of meat is healthier than the other. Both turkey and steak offer specific health benefits and dietary considerations.

For starters, turkey and steak both contain different amounts of fat, protein and carbohydrates. This varies even further, depending on the specific cut of meat. Here’s a quick breakdown of what their different macronutrient profiles look like when comparing turkey to sirloin steak:

Turkey Breast (3 ounces cooked) Sirloin Steak (3 ounces cooked)
2 grams Fat 9 grams Fat
0 grams Carbs 0 grams Carbs
26 grams Protein 25 grams Protein

The Argument for Turkey

Turkey Health Benefits

In general, turkey is considered a healthy protein. But just like any food, you shouldn’t just gobble it down 24/7 – moderation is key! Here’s a breakdown of turkey’s unique health benefits and unique dietary considerations:

Health Benefits

  • Protein-Rich: Turkey is packed with protein, averaging around 25 grams of protein per serving. Protein helps to maintain and increase lean muscle mass.
  • Rich in B Vitamins: Turkey is packed with vitamins B3, B6 and B12, all of which help your body convert food into energy!
  • Rich in Selenium: Turkey is an excellent source of selenium, which is a key nutrient that helps protect against infection and oxidative damage. [1]
  • Good Source of Nutrients: Turkey contains many other nutrients, including zinc, phosphorus, choline, magnesium and potassium, giving it an abundance of health benefits!

Special Considerations

  • Dark Meat vs. White Meat: Not all turkey is made equal. Dark meat has greater fat content than white meat. However, it also has a higher concentration of nutrients!
  • Pay Attention to Processing: Turkey breast is naturally low in sodium. However, it can be highly processed depending on the type of meat. Highly processed meats can be very high in sodium as well as artificial preservatives, which can negate turkey’s health benefits.

The Argument for Steak

Steak Health Benefits

Steak has its’ health benefits, but can also become problematic if too much is consumed. There are also certain populations who should avoid eating steak altogether. Here’s a breakdown of the health benefits and special considerations for steak:

Health Benefits

  • Protein-Rich: Steak is an excellent source of protein, boasting around 25 grams for every 3 ounces!
  • Rich in B12: Vitamin B12 plays a critical role in many functions in our body and also helps to prevent certain anemias. Steak is an excellent source of B12, most notably in leaner cuts of meat.
  • Rich in Iron: Steak contains high amounts of iron, which is necessary for transporting oxygen throughout the body. Also, heme-iron (a type of iron found in red meat) is absorbed more readily in the body than iron from plant-based sources.
  • Source of Nutrients: Steak is also a source of many other nutrients, including B vitamins, zinc and selenium.

Special Considerations

  • Increased Risk of Certain Types of Cancer: Research has shown that heavy consumption of red and processed meat, including steak, can increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends limiting red meat consumption to less than 18 ounces per week and decreasing processed meat consumption as much as possible. Red meats include steak, beef, pork and lamb. [2]
  • Increased Risk of Heart Disease: Steak can contain high levels of saturated fat depending on the specific cut of meat. Saturated fat has been found to increase the risk of developing heart disease. Choosing lean cuts of meat and trimming away fat can help to reduce your saturated fat intake.


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Underscore Editors

Underscore Editors