Frequently Asked Questions about Beef

We all know beef tastes great – but did you know that beef can be good for you, too? Here are some answers to your most pressing questions when it comes to beef and your health.

A: Absolutely! A 3-ounce serving of beef – about the size of an iPhone or deck of cards – provides more than 10 essential nutrients and about half of your Daily Value for protein in around 170 calories, on average (and just 150 calories for a serving of lean beef).
A: The Dietary Guidelines recommends adults eat 5.5 ounces of protein foods per day. Currently – and contrary to popular belief – Americans consume 1.7 ounces of beef daily, on average. The fact is, beef is a natural source of essential nutrients, which makes it a great protein option that you can enjoy any day.
A: Beef is a nutrition powerhouse in many ways. Aside from being a great source of protein, beef provides essential nutrients in a smaller package than some other proteins. For example, you would have to eat at least 8 ounces of cooked chicken breast to get the same amount of iron as in 3 ounces of beef, and nearly 7 times (20 ounces) the amount of chicken to get the same amount of zinc as a serving of beef.
A: There are a variety of beef choices, including grain-finished and grass-finished, but no matter the choice, there is a delicious and nutritious beef option for you. All cattle, whether grass or grain-finished, spend the majority of their lives eating grass on pastures, and beef is a natural source of more than 10 essential nutrients, like protein, iron and zinc. While grass-finished tends to be a little leaner, about half the fatty acids found in all beef are monounsaturated fatty acids, the same kind found in olive oil and avocados, and can be part of a heart-healthy diet.

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2013. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26.  Available at http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl.
  • Zanover M, O’Neil CE, Keast DR, Fulgoni VL, Nicklas TA.  Lean beef contributes significant amounts of key nutrients to the diets of US adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004. Nutrition Research 2010; 30 (6) 375-81.
  • Cotton PA, Subar AF, Friday JE, Cook A. Dietary sources of nutrients among US adults, 1994 to 1996.  J AM Diet Assoc 20004: 104: 921-30.