Bodies By Byrne is supported by its readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Also, as an Amazon affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
Can You Eat Beef While Cutting

Can You Eat Beef While Cutting? (It Depends…)

Cutting is difficult. As you’re focusing on consuming a calorie deficit your food choices are drastically limited. Unfortunately, this can mean that you end up eating a lot of the same – often bland – meals.

When it comes to what foods you can and can’t eat when cutting, a commonly asked question is what type of protein source in the form of meat can you eat. Mainly, can you eat beef while cutting, or is this simply too high in fat? 

As beef can be prepared in different ways and the calorie content, as well as the amount of protein and fats that it contains, varies significantly between these different types the answer isn’t really straightforward for everyone.

So, does this mean that it’s impossible to eat beef when cutting, or is there a way you can still eat beef when cutting?

Can You Eat Beef While Cutting?

You can eat beef while cutting. However, as the calorie and fat content of beef varies significantly depending on the cut of the meat, it’s best to focus on lean cuts (5% – 7.5% fat) that are lower in fat and lower in calories. This way you can stay within your daily calorie deficit.

Can You Eat Ground Beef While Cutting?

You can eat ground beef while cutting. However, as ground beef can be high in fat and high calories most people should avoid it when cutting in order to maintain a deficit. If you do want to eat ground beef when cutting then it’s best to get lean, low-fat, ground beef.

To expand on this, ground beef is a popular form of beef. It comes with different percentages of lean meat compared to fats, drastically affecting the number of calories it contains.

Ground beef that’s higher in proportion to lean meat is lower in calories than ground beef that has higher fat percentages. 

For example, 100 grams of ground beef that’s 70% lean meat and 30% fat is around 332 calories. In comparison, 100 grams of ground beef that’s 95% lean meat and 5% fat is around 136 calories.

So if you do want to eat ground beef when cutting it’s best to go for the leanest, lowest fat, beef you can get as this is lower in calories than the fattier options. This will help you to stay within your calorie deficit.

This is similar to milk whereby you can get different fat/carb percentages if you get whole milk compared to skimmed milk. 

Check out – Can you drink milk when cutting

What is Beef?

Beef is a broad term used to refer to any meat that comes from cattle. Beef is a widely popular food and it’s one of the most widely consumed meats globally. Its main components are protein and fat.

^^ This makes it well suited for those following a low-carb or keto diet. 

Beef comes in different forms with different names depending on how it has been prepared. Some of the more popular forms include steak, ground beef, and minced beef.

As beef is red meat it has a pretty bad reputation. Red meats are high in cholesterol and saturated fats; they’ve also been linked to a variety of health issues including increased cancer risk.

Beef can also be high in calories. 

Whilst the calorie content does vary depending on what type of beef you’re having and how lean it is, generally, it’s still a calorie-dense food. This means that it packs a lot of calories per gram.

However, red meats are also high in nutrients like zinc and they’re a source of protein. Protein is crucial for overall health, and as it can help to leave you feeling fuller and improve muscle development, it’s important to include it in your diet when cutting.

This is why a popular low-carb meal when cutting and building muscle is often steak and eggs

So whilst it’s not something you should be eating all of the time, there can be benefits to including beef in your diet.

Therefore, just because you’re cutting doesn’t mean that you must completely eliminate beef from your diet, as this can be a great source of protein. As I’ll go on to explain, there are ways to include beef into your diet when cutting.

Beef Calories

Per 85g (3oz), the nutritional value of these three different cuts of beef are:

Rib Eye Steak Flank SteakGround Beef (lean)
Calories (kcal)230163164
Fat (g)1676
Protein (g)212425

(Source 1, 2, 3

As shown by the table, the calorie content of beef varies depending on its cut. While rib eye steak is higher in calories, flank steak and ground beef are lower in calories. This is due to the different fat and lean meat content of the cut.

How to Eat Beef When Cutting

When cutting every calorie is important and you need to be as sparing as possible in order to maintain a calorie deficit if you want to see results from cutting.

As I’ve explained, beef varies in its calorie content depending on what type you’re eating. So, if you want to eat beef when cutting I’d recommend that you only eat lean beef. 

As fat is high in calories, having fattier meat will mean considerably more calories and make it much harder to maintain an overall calorie deficit.

You can ensure you only have lean meats by buying leaner cuts and products that are high in their lean meat percentage. You can also cut away fattier parts of the meat to ensure you aren’t eating this high-calorie part.

If you are having a fattier cut of beef then I’d suggest only having a small quantity within your daily or weekly diet. 

Consuming a small amount will mean you aren’t adding hugely to your overall calorie intake. However, you will need to adjust your diet around this by cutting calories from another meal in order to maintain a calorie deficit. 

Another thing to think about is how you’re preparing beef. 

The cooking method makes a huge difference to the number of calories. Beef that is marinated or cooked in high-calorie sauces involving butter or oil will be much higher in calories.

So it’s best to avoid marinated beef. You should also cook it with lower-calorie cooking sprays, as opposed to butter or oil, to avoid adding extra calories to your beef.

Another option is to consider beef alternatives. Whilst these aren’t a direct replacement for beef, they do provide flavor for a lot fewer calories. Next, I’ll show you some beef alternative options so that you can still satisfy those cravings, without the increased calorie intake.

Beef Alternatives When Cutting

There isn’t a direct beef alternative that will be low in calories and well suited to cutting. Beef alternatives are still a form of beef, they’re just lower calorie, leaner cuts. So you’ll have to consider different kinds of alternatives.

One beef alternative option when cutting is tofu. Whilst tofu has a bad reputation for lacking flavor, it’s a great food for absorbing flavors and you can use low-calorie sprays and sauces to add whatever flavor you want. 

At only 76 calories per 100 grams, tofu is a great alternative to beef especially on burgers or in other meals like stir fry or stew. 

Due to the surge of meat alternatives, there are a variety of tofu options available. Tofu is widely available in most supermarkets.

Another beef alternative is black beans. Black beans are high in fiber and a great source of protein – so you won’t be losing out on your protein intake by swapping out beef.

At around 65 calories per 100 grams, black beans are a good alternative to beef when cutting.

Finally, there is a growing number of meat substitutes and beef is included in this product category. Meat substitutes are plant-based foods that are made to look like meat products (burgers, sausages, etc…) but are made entirely from plant-based ingredients. 

This is different from tofu which is a standalone food group. Plant-based meat substitutes are relatively new to the market and can offer a low-calorie alternative to beef when cutting. 

Final Thoughts

Beef is packed with protein. Depending on the cut of the meat, the calorie and fat content of beef varies. Leaner cuts, such as lean ground beef and flank steak, are lower in calories and make a suitable choice when cutting.

When cutting you want to maintain that calorie deficit so that you see results. The best way of doing this is by focusing on foods that are low in calories, and keep you fuller for longer. This makes lower-calorie versions of beef a good choice. 

In comparison, higher fat and higher calorie cuts of beef, as well as beef that’s been marinated or cooked in high-calorie sauces should be avoided when cutting as it will add a considerable amount to your calorie intake.

If you’re looking to cut calories further, you could also check out beef alternatives like tofu and black beans.

See next – How to stop cravings when cutting