The amount of cholesterol and saturated fat in chicken and beef may depend on the type of cut and the preparation.
High saturated fat intake
Animal products, such as meat and poultry, contain saturated fats. This article discusses the saturated fat in chicken and beef and its potential effects on a person’s cholesterol levels.
Whether chicken or beef is better for lowering cholesterol may depend on the cut. According to the
For beef, choosing lean cuts with minimal visible fat can help reduce saturated fat intake. Lean cuts of beef include:
Other options for beef with lower saturated fat content include “choice” or “select” grades, as opposed to “prime,” and choosing lean or extra lean ground beef.
For chicken, it is best to choose the white meat more often and remove the skin before cooking or eating.
Researchers found that diets with a high intake of red or white meat resulted in higher levels of LDL cholesterol compared to diets with non-meat protein sources. Both white and red meat had similar effects on cholesterol.
The following table compares the cholesterol in different cuts of chicken and beef per 100 grams (g):
|Chicken cuts||Beef cuts|
|chicken wings, skinless: ||top sirloin steak: |
|chicken breast, skinless: ||rib steak: |
|chicken thighs, skinless: ||brisket: |
|chicken drumstick, skin on: ||flank steak, fat trimmed: |
|round steak, fat trimmed: |
|chuck eye steak, fat trimmed: |
- Trimming off any visible fat from the meat before cooking.
- Choosing broiling instead of frying in a pan, and use broiling to brown the meat.
- Using a rack to drain the fat when broiling, roasting, or baking meat.
- Using wine, fruit juices, or plant-based oil marinades to moisten the meat rather than basting it with drippings.
- Cooking any liquid-based meat dishes, such as stews, a day ahead of time and refrigerate. Then, removing the top layer of hardened fat.
- Removing the skin from any poultry before cooking or eating, and choosing the white meat more often.
The National Council on Aging recommends people limit foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol, such as steak. This means eating small portion sizes no bigger than 3 ounces (oz), and only once a week.
It is best to limit or avoid processed meats, as these can be
- hot dogs
The AHA recommends limiting saturated fat intake to
Read more about daily saturated fat intake.
- nuts and nut butters
- green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli
- soy milk
People can also opt for fish instead of chicken or beef. Fish is
People can eat at least 8 oz of fish each week. Avoid frying, and instead, try broiling, grilling, baking, or boiling.
Learn about 15 foods that help lower cholesterol.
This section answers common questions about foods and cholesterol.
What is the best meat to eat to lower cholesterol?
The best meat to help reduce cholesterol is
Poultry, such as chicken or turkey, without the skin, is also leaner than poultry with the skin on and may contain less fat than duck or goose.
Broiling rather than frying, removing excess fat in the cooking process, and using vegetable oils rather than animal-based fats can also help.
What are the 3 best foods for lowering cholesterol?
Three of the top foods for lowering cholesterol are:
- Oats: Oats contain beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that can help reduce high LDL cholesterol levels.
- Fruit and vegetables: Many fruits and vegetables are also high in soluble fiber, helping reduce the amount of cholesterol the body absorbs.
- Foods high in heart-healthy fats: Nuts, seeds, avocado, oily fish, and olives help increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, also called “good” cholesterol.
Read about natural ways to lower cholesterol.
The amount of cholesterol and saturated fat in chicken and beef can depend on the type of cut and how people prepare the food.
To help lower cholesterol levels, people can choose lean cuts of meat, remove excess fat, and try broiling instead of frying. People may also wish to use meat alternatives, such as plant-based proteins or fish.