Cuts of Beef and Other Protein Low in Saturated Fat

How to Find Meat That Is Low in Fat

Flank Steak
Flank Steak is Low in Saturated Fats and is allowed on the South Beach Diet. Rosemary Weller/The Image Bank/Getty Images

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and most medical organizations recommend keeping your consumption of saturated fats low. A list of lean meats and other protein foods that are low in saturated fat can help you choose wisely when shopping or dining. You can enjoy low-fat cuts of fish, beef, pork, and poultry while reducing your saturated fat intake.

Most low-carb diets don't emphasize the reduction of saturated fats, but some do.

This list includes those that would be allowed on many low-carb diets that emphasize a reduction in saturated fats, including the South Beach Diet, Sonoma, and the Zone Diet.

Fish and Seafood

All fish and seafood are acceptable, but you should avoid any that are breaded or deep-fried. Canned tuna should be packed in water rather than oil.

Poultry

Always remove the skin from poultry, and avoid all breading. No goose or duck is allowed. These are acceptable:

  • Chicken or turkey: White meat is fine
  • Dark meat: Occasionally after Phase One
  • Turkey bacon or low-fat sausage: Acceptable in moderation
  • Cornish hen

Beef: Acceptable Cuts

Beef cuts can be confusing, as their names vary a lot. Dr. Agatston, the originator of the South Beach Diet, has approved the following cuts of beef:

Ground meat:

  • Ground sirloin
  • Ground beef with less than 10 percent fat

Cuts from the short loin (names vary regionally):

  • Short loin
  • Tenderloin roast
  • T-Bone steak
  • Porterhouse steak
  • Tenderloin steak
  • Filet mignon
  • Fillet steak
  • Top loin steak
  • Strip steak
  • Kansas City steak
  • New York strip steak
  • Hotel-Style steak
  • Sirloin Strip steak
  • Club steak
  • Country club steak
  • Delmonico steak
  • Shell steak

Cuts from the sirloin:

  • Tri-Tip
  • Sirloin steak
  • Top sirloin
  • Coulotte steak
  • Cap steak
  • Round-Bone steak
  • Beef Loin
  • Flap steak
  • Flap meat

Cuts from the round:

  • Bottom round
  • Top round
  • Eye (of the) round
  • Round tip roast
  • Rump roast
  • Round tip steak
  • Ball tip steak
  • Beef sirloin tip steak
  • Breakfast steak
  • Knuckle steak
  • Sandwich steak
  • Minute steak
  • Round steak

Other acceptable beef cuts:

  • Flank steak
  • London broil

Pork: Acceptable List

  • Boiled ham
  • Tenderloin
  • Loin
  • Lean, well-trimmed chops
  • Canadian bacon
  • Occasional crisp-cooked, well-drained bacon (best as a garnish)

Lamb

  • Leg of lamb, well trimmed of fat
  • Lambchop as an occasional treat

Veal

  • Top round
  • Leg cutlet
  • Chop

Lunch Meats

Lunch meats should be sugar-free and low in fat. Deli turkey is a good choice.

Other Acceptable Protein Sources

  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Seitan
  • Tempeh
  • Beans
  • Low-fat meat substitutes

Note on Saturated Fats and Low-Carb Diets

The Atkins Diet, LCHF, and most other low-carb approaches don't emphasize reducing saturated fats as long as carbs are kept low. They point to the lack of evidence that reducing saturated fats to extremely low levels is helpful in terms of risk reduction for most people.

Several attempts to look at all the research on the subject have found no benefit from lowering saturated fat, and this may be especially true in the context of a low-carb diet. While research is continuing, health authorities still recommend reducing saturated fat.

Sources:

Chowdhury R, Warnakula S, Kunutsor S, et al. Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids With Coronary Risk. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2014;160(6):398-406. doi:10.7326/m13-1788.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 Eighth Edition. USDA. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/resources/2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines.pdf.

Hooper L, Martin N, Abdelhamid A, Smith GD. Reduction in saturated fat intake for cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. October 2015. doi:10.1002/14651858.cd011737.

Continue Reading