Eat red meat? You bet I do! If you're careful with a few of the details, a little lean beef can improve how full and satisfied you feel and help you lose weight. It can also help with those pre-dinner munchies and late night junk food.
The drive to eat is often in response to outside forces like accessibility to food and restaurants, stress and other emotions. Since we can't control these outside forces, we can at least work on controlling the internal cues of physical hunger.
The evidence is clear that protein is satisfying. It increases certain hormones that can help you feel full and keep you from eating in response to those external cues.
One study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2005, was presented by a speaker I listened to recently. This study compared participants who consumed 30 percent of their daily calories from protein to those who consumed only 12 percent. Participants were allowed to eat as they wished in addition to the protein they were required to eat. The study found that high protein dieters consumed fewer calories, and thus lost more weight.
So does it have to be red meat? No, but lean beef is a tight package of what I like to call "condensed nutrition." There are 29 cuts of beef that are considered lean. A 3-ounce portion of lean beef (about the size of a deck of cards) contains at least 26 grams of protein, less than 10 grams of total fat and less than 4.5 grams of saturated fat. All of this, plus 10 essential nutrients, for only about 150 calories. A plant source of protein, like black beans, requires 1½ cups to equal the amount of protein and is around 374 calories.
Unfortunately, beef is commonly looked at negatively due to its saturated fat. But to set the record straight, beef is not in the main culprit when it comes to the average American's saturated fat intake. In fact, it doesn't even make the top five.
Recent research looks at the relationship between small amounts of lean beef and the reduction of cardiovascular disease risk factors. Another 2012 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study showed that when a person consumes 4 to 5 ounces of lean beef daily, cardiovascular risk factors, such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improved similarly to patients who use dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) -- this can include increasing potassium, calcium and magnesium, lowering sodium intake, eating eight-plus serving of fruits and veggies a day, etc.
So no need to feel guilty for including small amounts of lean beef to your diet often. Just use healthy cooking methods.
This recipe is one of my favorites and uses flank steak, one of the 29 cuts of lean beef.
Bloody Mary Flank Steak
By: Guy Fieri
• 1 c low-sodium V8
• ½ c vodka
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp ground black pepper
• 1 tsp hot sauce
• 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
• 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp ground celery seed
• 1 TBSP prepared horseradish
• ¼ cup olive oil
• 1 pound flank steak
Thoroughly mix all ingredients except flank steak. Pour ½ of this marinade in a zip top bag and add flank steak. Marinate 8-24 hours. Reserve the rest of the marinade until cooking time.
Discard marinade from steak. Grill flank steak to medium rare (135 degrees). This should take about 10 minutes/side. Let rest an additional 5 to 10 minutes, covered with foil.
While grilling, pour reserved marinade in saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat until reduced by half, about 15 minutes.
Cut steak on the bias (across grain) and serve with reduced marinade. Garnish with celery if desired.
Nutrition facts based on a 3-ounce (cooked) serving: 200 calories, 28 grams protein, 9 grams fat (4 saturated), 4 grams carbohydrate. 4 servings.