Lean Ground Meats and Their Saturated Fat Content

When we met with the dietician about my son’s high cholesterol, we were told to avoid red meat and switch to turkey and chicken.  We had been using 90% lean ground beef but stopped that completely.

We buy turkey or chicken meatballs and turkey burgers.

We use ground turkey and chicken for meat sauces.

But I was wondering…how do lean ground beef, turkey, and chicken compare in terms of saturated fat?

Well, let’s find out.

Ground Beef

80% lean – 20% fat


90% lean – 10% fat


95% lean – 5% fat


So 3.4 grams of saturated fat in the meat that we usually got (because, for lean ground beef, it was so affordable at Sam’s Club).

I’m wondering how that compares to ground turkey, which we buy occasionally but definitely don’t enjoy as much.

Ground Turkey

        85% lean              93% lean

So the 85% lean ground turkey is identical in fat content to the 90% lean ground beef, while the 93% lean ground turkey is identical to the 95% lean ground beef.

That’s REALLY interesting.

Ground Chicken

Not actually a whole lot of choices when it comes to ground chicken, so here’s what I found from Perdue:

  92% lean                         98% lean


Obviously, the 98% lean is the best.  I know they make turkey like that, too, however, price is something I have to consider.  The 92% lean chicken is better than the 85% lean turkey, but probably more expensive, too.

For our budget’s sake, I suppose we’ll need to talk to CJ’s dietician this week during his checkup to see if there are other reasons concerning cholesterol for avoiding red meat or if that suggestion was purely due to the fat content.  It would be nice to have a little beef now and then!

And just in case you’re thinking maybe the amount of cholesterol is a problem:

80% lean ground beef – 60 mg

90% lean ground beef – 55 mg

95% lean ground beef – 53mg

85% lean ground turkey – 64mg

93% lean ground turkey – 60mg

Amazingly enough, turkey has more cholesterol than beef.


I would love to know what your favorite recipes are for lean ground beef and turkey.  Kid friendly, of course!  (And no, in our house, apparently tacos are NOT kid friendly.  😦 )



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