Beef vs Turkey Burger: What’s REALLY Best For Your Health

Written by Cristina Powell

Beef vs Turkey Burger

Disclaimer: This is a simple overview of the nutritional comparison between consuming a burger made with ground beef versus a burger made with ground turkey. I am not here to debate the ethical or environmental side of things, as this is already a controversial enough topic. However, we do advocate consuming grass-fed, pasture-raised, organic meats whenever possible.

Now, with that being said, let’s begin the face-off.

Raise your hand if you’ve been told to save calories and fat, you should give up beef burgers for turkey burgers? I know I’ve heard that advice more times than I can count regarding the beef vs turkey burger feud. And as a mother, I am always looking for ways to make healthy food swaps and to introduce my children to new foods. I will admit, I was replacing ground turkey in quite a few of my recipes, believing I was doing good. But how do the numbers really break down?

According to the USDA, here’s the nutritional information for a 3-ounce portion of both 93/7 ground beef and 93/7 ground turkey:

Beef vs Turkey Burger

Ground Beef

  • Calories 162
  • Fat 7.5
  • Cholesterol 68
  • Protein 22.3
  • Iron 2.4
  • Zinc 5.5
  • B6 .3
  • B12 2.1
  • Selenium 18.4

Editor’s Note: 9 Proteins That Expand Your Waist

Ground Turkey

  • Calories 176
  • Fat 9.7
  • Cholesterol 90
  • Protein 22
  • Iron 1.5
  • Zinc 3.2
  • B6 .4
  • B12 1.5
  • Selenium n/a

Say what? Did I read that right?

We have been led to believe that by swapping out beef for turkey in recipes, we can enjoy more protein, as well as less calories. Yet it turns out, this is only true if you select ground turkey breast, and it is freshly ground for you. And even then, it’s pretty much a wash.

I mean, while you’re at it, you could certainly select a much less fatty cut of beef to use in your ground beef mixture, thereby kicking those health benefits up a notch. And then you’re right back here where we started.

Much in the same way there are different cuts of red meat, there are also different types of white meat. So it’s important to be mindful when discussing any type of meat to differentiate between processed and unprocessed meats. It’s also critical to be mindful of the sources of your food, and whenever possible, opt for grass-fed, organic meat and dairy.

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In terms of taste, most people agree that ground beef contains more flavor than ground turkey. And the leaner the ground turkey, the less flavor it contains. This often leads to adding additional spices, one being salt. This somewhat counteracts the rationale of selecting turkey for the health benefits. In my own experience, I had to add so many additional ingredients to the ground turkey to get anyone in my household to consume it, I was already beginning to question if it was worth it.

And with ground turkey already packing more fat, cholesterol, and overall calories, it doesn’t make much sense to increase the fat ratio, which typically contains dark meat and skin, as that will kick up the cholesterol, fat, and calories even more.

Bottom line: there are many scare tactics in place today, including a movie I recently watched on Netflix (What The Health), which would have us believe that consuming red meat is the primary cause of diabetes and cancer. Red meat has gotten a bad rap for as long as I can remember, and while most meat we consume isn’t as healthful as the meats our Paleo ancestors ate, it is undeserving of the negative publicity it has received.

When included as part of a well-balanced meal plan, unprocessed, grass-fed beef is highly nutritious and contains healthy proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and a plethora of nutrients which have been shown to positively affect the function of both body and brain.

After doing my own research, I’ve determined the beef vs turkey burger feud is not a battle worth fighting in my household. I’ll save my energy advocating for more fruits and vegetables.

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  • Acquah Vicki

    Eco friendlier,Practical, cheaper and save us from over breeding flautulant cows.

    • Delbert L. Weishaar

      And 150 years ago there were more bison than there are cattle in the US today…and you think they didn’t fart???

  • denise113

    Wow, interesting! I always thought and read a few years ago that turkey was healthier. Now, I will be adding beef to my diet. Thanks for the info!

  • Hi Robert,

    I hope this finds you doing well! I certainly understand and appreciate your skepticism—300% is a rather large, if not incomprehensible, amount. Having said that, I’ll be happy to elaborate and provide you with some additional information.

    For starters, the SIGMALean blend found in Metabo379 has been the subject of three clinical trials, which have all been published in peer-reviewed journals. You can locate them all (full text available) via the following links:

    Efficacy and tolerability of a novel herbal formulation for weight management

    Efficacy and Tolerability of an Herbal Formulation for Weight Management

    Efficacy and tolerability of Meratrim for weight management: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in healthy overweight human subjects.

    When you review the first study cited above, you’ll see that participants who supplemented with SIGMALean lost 1.84kg in the first two weeks while the placebo group lost, on average, 0.56kg. In other words, the SIGMALean group lost, on average, 3.29 times more weight within the first two weeks of the study period. That’s a 229% difference, which as you may be inclined to point out, is not “nearly 300%.” That’s an error that we are aware of and are in the process of addressing.

    However, the point that should not be lost is that three clinical trials have shown that supplementation with SIGMALean (combined with diet and exercise) is substantially more effective than diet and exercise alone when it comes to weight management and improvement in a variety of health parameters. In fact, in the three studies cited above, you’ll see that supplementation leads to over 3 times greater weight loss after 8 weeks, and even better, 4 times greater weight loss (that’s over 300% difference) over the course of 16 weeks.

    I certainly appreciate your thought process, Robert, and I completely agree with your rationale about energy balance. Please feel free to share any additional questions or comments that you have.

    Coach Tim

  • Cynthialou Nolan

    When I had breast cancer in 2002, I did a lot of change’s in food. The sad thing is how the FDA ,and our government makes it not affordable for the avg consumers to buy healthy foods; and it’s also expensive for the farmers that grow organic,or healthy anything. Most of our beef is sent else where and we get their beef. Same with pork, but chicken for the most part is raised here. But then we have good chicken and bad. Good healthy chicken will cost you; for example: a healthy hole hen is around $3.99 lb, whereas hormone feed will only cost you $0.99 lb. This is the same for beef,turkey,pork, fish, and even eggs. So what it comes down to now, is this: HEALTHY MEATS ARE ALL “GOOD” FOR YOU! BAD MEATS WE CAN AFFORD!

  • Bored

    If I want a burger, the only thing that will suffice is ground cow. If I want turkey, I’ll buy turkey.

  • Ed D

    Beef vs Turkey is all about getting our taste buds and food habits accustomed.