Hamburger vs. turkey burger: Which one comes out on top?

May 26, 2011


Store-bought ground turkey is generally lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than most packaged ground beef. Be careful, though, not to go too low in fat when picking out ground turkey. The extra-lean variety contains only one gram of fat per four-ounce patty, but it’s not easy getting the meat to stick together. Adding an egg and some bread crumbs to the mix increases the protein count (but also boosts the carbs and fat).

Red meat contains large amounts of saturated fat, and diets high in that have been associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and some forms of heart disease. Most people who are susceptible to those problems are sedentary individuals whose diets are high in fat. Eating some fats, though, can slow the rate at which carbs are absorbed, steadying blood sugar levels and increasing feelings of satiety.

AND THE WINNER IS… ground beef (hamburger), in a split decision.

In most cases, opt for ground beef. In studies, athletes on diets higher in saturated fat had higher testosterone levels than those who followed lower-fat diets. In addition, research shows that people who train and eat foods that are higher in cholesterol–the building block of testosterone–gain more strength and muscle mass than those who follow lower-cholesterol diets. When eating out, opt for turkey. A restaurant turkey burger will likely be a mix of ground dark meat, white meat and even some skin. That combo delivers about 18 g of protein and 17 g of fat per four-ounce patty–much better than a typical restaurant beef burger (usually 70% lean, with only about 16 g of protein and a whopping 34 g of fat).