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  • Lindsey, EDRD

Turkey vs Beef

If we're thinking about old-school nutrition advice, "choose turkey over beef" comes to mind. We tend to associate turkey products with being lower in fat and overall calories, while still being a great source of protein.

But is there reeeeeaaaaally a difference? Last Friday I had the chance to stroll around Aldi (one of life's great pleasures) and like the creeper I am, take photos of various foods.

Let's compare!

Starting with bacon, the turkey bacon strips must be larger because you'll notice that 15 grams of that equals one strip, while pork gives you two smaller strips. Pork bacon has three times the calories of turkey bacon and double the sodium. As a refresher, the fat found in poultry, pork, and beef is saturated fats- the "bad" fats that are linked with increased harmful cholesterol in the body. If you are someone who consumes bacon regularly, which honestly- current recommendations are to rarely consume processed meat- then turkey bacon could be a better option. Turkey bacon is still considered processed, so by no means am I saying you should go hog wild. Er, bird wild.

Onto the ground meats- notice much of a difference between turkey and beef?


... neither. I've had countless patients switch to ground turkey as a healthy alternative, but what you need to pay attention to- just like with beef- is the percent lean. If it's 93% lean, then only 7% of the volume is fat. As we can see, 93% lean beef is lower calorie/lower fat than 85% ground turkey. Label-reading is key here.

Another factor when choosing turkey vs beef vs pork is taste! What do you enjoy better? If you've been choosing ground turkey and gagging it down, well, maybe you can switch it up and have lean ground beef sometimes. I personally am not a huge fan of turkey bacon, and I have pork bacon so rarely (probably 2 slices a month on a BLT) that I choose it instead. I do the ol' bake it in the oven on a cooling rack suspended in a rimmed baking sheet so the fat melts and pools below.

When talking meat, it is important to remember that current dietary recommendations are to limit your intake of red meat and saturated fat. I want the take-home message here to be that the percentage of leanness makes a huge difference!


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