It seems like every year, January rolls around and everyone is suddenly on a mission to frantically shed pounds. Despite the outstanding number of sources that verify that crash dieting does not work, in fact it often even causes people to gain weight in the long run, Americans still cling on to this false hope like they clung to the turkey and dressing just a month before.
Now I am not saying that ambition to lose weight is a bad thing, au contraire. It is just important to distinguish that there is a difference between losing weight in a hurry and making healthy lifestyle choices. In actuality, the main focus should be directed more towards becoming healthier over the course of a steady period. Of course there are several factors to becoming healthier, including exercise, proper sleep, minimizing stress, but a huge part of this equation is maintaining a well-rounded diet.
What several Americans mistakenly do, is decide to cut out on-the-surface “fats” altogether, not realizing that they are actually eliminating some vital proteins and cholesterol-reducing nutrients. Beef is often one of the first things that gets the axe, yet this choice can actually be a deterrant in their quest towards maintining a more well-rounded diet.
In fact a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has stated that, “beef can play a role in a cholesterol-lowering diet, despite commonly held beliefs.” The study found that diets including lean beef every day are as effective in lowering total and LDL “bad” cholesterol as the “gold standard” of heart-healthy diets (DASH, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). “This research sheds new light on evidence supporting lean beef’s role in a heart-healthy diet. Study participants ate lean beef every day and still met targets for saturated fat intake,” says Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD, distinguished professor of nutrition at PSU and the study’s principal investigator. She also went on to say, “This study shows that nutrient-rich lean beef can be included as part of a heart-healthy diet that improves risk factors for cardiovascular disease.”
Also keep in mind that when you cut out beef, you are in essence depriving your body of a highly nutritious food-rich in zinc, iron, selenium, B vitamins, and protein. A recent article in Shape Magazine that encouraged incorporating beef into your diet, provided some tips to maintaining a healthy, nutrient-rich diet that includes beef. According to Shape Magazine, “the idea is to choose lean cuts for your healthy beef
recipes. The fat and calorie content of beef varies depending on the
grade and the cut. Select or Choice beef will be leaner than Prime. And top
sirloin, eye of round, and bottom round cuts have fewer than 3 grams of
saturated fat and fewer than 190 calories in 3 ounces.”
They also suggest that you Marinate beef first. “Fat gives beef flavor and texture, so lean cuts need a little help to make them tasty and tender. An acid-based blend-containing wine, tomatoes, or vinegar-will do the trick.”
As with anything, the idea is moderation. By combining things such as lean beef with a healthy salad, coupled with regular exercise, you will be on the right track towards looking and feeling better in 2012!
Fore some inspiration, check out this delicious recipe of easy-to-prepare beef stir fry courtesy of Shape Magazine:
Nutrition Score per serving
|1||lb||beef top sirloin steak, cut 3/4 inch thick|
|3⁄4||c||prepared stir-fry sauce|
|1||pk||(16 ounces) frozen Asian vegetable blend (such as broccoli,
carrots and sugar snap peas)
|2||t||sesame seeds (optional)|
- Cut beef steak lengthwise in half, then crosswise
into 1/8-inch thick strips. Place beef and 1/4 cup stir-fry sauce in food-safe
plastic bag; turn beef to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator
30 minutes to 2 hours.
- Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot; add vegetables
and water. Cover and cook 7 to 8 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring
occasionally. Remove vegetables; keep warm.
- Remove beef from marinade; discard marinade. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in same
skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1/2 of beef and garlic; stir-fry 1
to 2 minutes or until outside surface of beef is no longer pink. (Do not
overcook.) Remove from skillet. Repeat with remaining oil, beef and garlic.
- Return vegetables and beef to skillet. Stir in remaining
1/2 cup stir-fry sauce; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through.
Garnish with sesame seeds, if desired.