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Mythbuster Monday: Good fat, bad fat

Beautifully marbled T-Bones in the NYC meat case

Last week while sampling Certified Angus Beef® Prime tenderloins to hungry New Yorkers, I tried diligently to explain exactly why this was some of the best beef they had ever eaten.

It’s all about the marbling – those beautiful flecks of flavor you see evenly dispersed in the steak. You may notice that I focus on saying “flecks of flavor” rather than “flecks of fat,” because that little three-letter word instantly sends up a red flag on red meat.

This week, I’m giving Miranda a break from Mythbusting to take this one on myself and prove that more marbling isn’t something we should be scared of.

Myth: Highly-marbled beef is more fatty and therefore not a healthy “lean” protein option.

Fact: When you want to go lean, what you really want to cut back on is beef’s external fat, which is usually trimmed to a constant level for all grades.

Marbling, on the other hand, is primarily made of heart-healthy oleic acid, the simple (monounsaturated) fat prevalent in olive oil. More marbling means more oleic acids, which means less of the potentially harmful saturated and trans-fatty acids that many negatively associate with red meat.

Our own Mark Gwin points this sweet little nugget of information out: “The difference in total fat percentage between Select and Choice is only between 2% and 3%. When consumers purchase less-marbled, Select cuts, they are giving up a lot of palatability,texture and quality for a very small difference in that total.”  

The Certified Angus Beef® brand is known for full flavor,and it also has 24 cuts that hit the lean beef target established by the USDA. That means they have less than 10 grams total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat and less than 90 milligrams of cholesterol per serving.

My pre-race fuel: leftover CAB Prime strip steak salad with blue cheese and cherry tomatoes. Yum.

And let’s not forget that delicious, tender, well-marbled steak is also packed with essential nutrients and vitamins. Beef is the No. 1 source of protein, vitamin B12 and zinc and a good source of iron.

Personally, busting this myth is extra-special today. We eat well over our share of highly-marbled beef in this office; that’s no secret. 

Enjoying beef as part of a healthy, balanced diet is essential to fueling everyday activity and more intense activities like long distance running.

Yesterday, six members of the CAB family competed in the Cleveland half-marathon. For four of us, this was our first half-marathon. It was my first race of any kind (since my mortifying days as a junior high track “athlete,” that is… but that’s a whole other story), and I’m confident that a diet based on lean protein was what fueled me through the two hours and 11 minutes of running yesterday morning! 

The running ladies of Certified Angus Beef LLC after Sunday’s Cleveland Marathon.

Read more about the “good fat v. bad fat” reserach I cited here: http://www.cabpartners.com/news/press/GoodfatNR082008.pdf. So go ahead, have your delicious steak and enjoy it, too!

-Laura
blackinkwithcab
Ride along with the Certified Angus Beef supply development team as we work to help cattlemen put more black ink in their record books with cattle management news, tips and ideas to profitably improve quality. CAB is a nonprofit subsidiary of the American Angus Association. It was founded in 1978 as the first fresh beef brand based on specifications, and remains the largest in the world. We spend every day working with cattlemen and women across the country to help them better supply the CAB brand with high-quality beef. Join us for a view from many a pickups' passenger seat.
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