Red meat and fat

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Did you know?

Many of the important nutrients in meat are found in the lean part, so it is possible to reduce the fat without reducing the nutritional benefits.

About half the fat in lean red meat is the unsaturated form that is believed to be healthier. Surveys show that meat is a major contributor of mono-unsaturated fat in the diet. Choosing lean cuts of meat and trimming off any visible fat helps to reduce the saturated fat content further.

Due to animal breeding, feed changes and modern butchery methods the fat content of red meat has fallen by one third over the last 20 years.


fat chart

Reduction in fat content achieved from the 1950s to the present day (for raw meat)

Higgs JD (2000) The changing nature of red meat: 20 years of improving nutritional quality. Trends in Food Science Technology

Tips to further reduce the content of fat meat meals

  • Choose extra lean varieties of meat and meat products
  • Use lean cubes of beef, lamb or pork for casseroles or kebabs
  • There are ranges of lower-fat versions of popular meat products like sausages, burgers and pate
  • Trim any visible fat off meat during preparation or at the table
  • Dry fry, grill or bake without adding additional fat or oil
  • Drain and discard fat from the pan before making a gravy or sauce with remaining juices
  • Skim gravies and sauces before serving
  • If necessary, drain fried meat on kitchen towel before serving