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Ground turkey vs Ground Beef: Nutrition comparison & Health impact

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Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian by Jack Yacoubian | Last updated on February 20, 2023
Medically reviewed by Igor Bussel Article author photo Igor Bussel
Ground turkey
vs
Ground meat

Summary

Ground turkey is richer in protein,  selenium, phosphorus, copper, and most B complex vitamins. Comparatively, ground meat is richer in zinc, iron, and vitamin B12. Ground meat is red meat and has higher mortality rates than ground turkey.

Introduction 

This article is a comparison between 2 types of animal products; ground turkey and ground meat. We will compare these two foods according to general differences, nutritional content, and health impacts. 

By ground meat, we are considering ground beef 70/30 in this article. We will compare them both in their cooked states. 

By the end of the article, we will understand the nutritional difference between them and how they impact our health. 

General differences

Ground turkey is white meat, and ground meat is red meat.

Price

Now which one is a cheaper protein? Ground turkey or ground meat (beef)

By the global average, ground turkey is a cheaper food compared to ground meat. 

Taste and flavor

Turkey meat is leaner meat and has less fat. Ground turkey is comparatively milder in taste. Some people say that turkey meat is bland aswell. 

Nutritional content comparison

In this section, we will compare 100g of each food based on cooked forms of both.

Calories

Ground turkey is lower in calories compared to ground meat. Ground turkey contains 203 calories, and ground meat contains 241 calories. 

Fats

Ground turkey contains lower amounts of total fats in comparison to ground meat. Ground turkey contains 10g of fats, and ground meat contains 15g of fats. 

Considering the different types of fats, ground turkey contains higher amounts of polyunsaturated fats, whereas ground beef contains higher amounts of saturated and monounsaturated fats. 

Below we can visualize their fat-type distributions

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains less Saturated Fat -56.1%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +615%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +111.7%
30% 38% 32%
Saturated Fat: 2.669 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 3.458 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 2.917 g
44% 53% 3%
Saturated Fat: 6.073 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 7.322 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.408 g
Contains less Saturated Fat -56.1%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +615%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +111.7%

Carbs

Their carb contents are negligible.

Protein

Ground turkey is richer in protein compared to ground meat. 

Ground turkey contains 27.4g of protein; in comparison, ground meat contains 24g of protein. 

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Protein +14.7%
Contains more Fats +47.8%
Contains more Other +1393.8%
Equal in Water - 58.37
27% 10% 62%
Protein: 27.37 g
Fats: 10.4 g
Carbs: 0 g
Water: 62.07 g
Other: 0.16 g
24% 15% 58% 2%
Protein: 23.87 g
Fats: 15.37 g
Carbs: 0 g
Water: 58.37 g
Other: 2.39 g
Contains more Protein +14.7%
Contains more Fats +47.8%
Contains more Other +1393.8%
Equal in Water - 58.37

Minerals

Ground turkey is richer in selenium, phosphorus, and copper. In comparison, ground meat is richer in zinc and iron.

Here we can visualize their mineral distributions.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Contains more Magnesium +76.5%
Contains more Phosphorus +53%
Contains more Potassium +22%
Contains more Copper +91.1%
Contains more Calcium +17.9%
Contains more Iron +49.3%
Contains more Zinc +87.8%
Equal in Sodium - 73
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 9% 57% 22% 109% 26% 11% 85% 51%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 10% 86% 13% 72% 22% 10% 160% 27%
Contains more Magnesium +76.5%
Contains more Phosphorus +53%
Contains more Potassium +22%
Contains more Copper +91.1%
Contains more Calcium +17.9%
Contains more Iron +49.3%
Contains more Zinc +87.8%
Equal in Sodium - 73
 

Vitamins 

Ground turkey is richer in vitamins B2, B3, B5, and B6. In comparison, ground meat is richer in vitamin B12. 

Here we can visualize their vitamin distributions.

@vitaminlCoverage 

Health impacts

Ground meat and ground turkey are rich in nutrients that can be added to our diets. In this section, we will discuss the health benefits and negative impacts of each in detail. 

You can also read a comparative text between steak and ground meat.

Anemias

Ground meat is a richer source of vitamin B12 and iron. A diet with moderate amounts of red meat has decreased iron deficiency and pernicious anemia risks. Here we need to mention that iron derived from heme protein has a very high bioavailability and is efficiently absorbed.(1)(2)

Muscle mass loss 

With old age comes sarcopenia, which is muscle mass loss due to normal physiological processes related to aging. However, a diet rich in red meat has been associated with lower risks of muscle mass loss in elderly people. (3)

Zinc benefits

Zinc is a catalyst in several metabolic pathways in the body and is essential in immune and reproductive physiology. Zinc is an essential mineral that must be consumed in our diets, and red meat is an excellent source of zinc. (4)

Calories and weight loss

Ground turkey is leaner meat compared to ground meat. Ground turkey is richer in proteins and has lower calories. It is a great food to be added to weight loss diets, even in healthy diets that are not focused on weight loss. (5)

Vitamin B6 benefits

Similar to the benefits of zinc in ground beef, ground turkey is richer in vitamin B6, which is a catalyst in multiple metabolic pathways and essential in the body's physiological and biochemical maintenance. (6)

Infections

It is important not to eat ground meat and ground turkey raw and even medium rare states. Cook them well because while getting ground, they get mixed with all sorts of bacteria, especially E.coli, which causes severe diarrhea and diseases such as hemolytic uremic syndrome. (7)

Negative impacts

The culprit is processed red meats that cause significant health problems, and we need to differentiate between red meat and processed red meat. This article discusses some negative impacts of red meat that are based on dietary guidelines concerning the negative impacts of red meat.

Comparatively, ground turkey has a lower risk mortality rate than red meat consumption. 

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12643357/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24280989/ 
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26946103/ 
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2820120/ 
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4462824/ 
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34579110/ 
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30068886/ 
Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: February 20, 2023
Medically reviewed by Igor Bussel

Infographic

Ground turkey vs Ground meat infographic
Infographic link

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
Contains more Vitamin A +777.8%
Contains more Vitamin D +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +51%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +23.4%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +116.7%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +133%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +103.5%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +85.8%
Contains more Vitamin K +∞%
Equal in Vitamin E - 0.12
Equal in Folate - 7
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 5% 3% 6% 0% 20% 49% 164% 72% 147% 6% 168% 0%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 1% 3% 0% 0% 13% 40% 76% 31% 72% 6% 312% 8%
Contains more Vitamin A +777.8%
Contains more Vitamin D +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +51%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +23.4%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +116.7%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +133%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +103.5%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +85.8%
Contains more Vitamin K +∞%
Equal in Vitamin E - 0.12
Equal in Folate - 7

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Ground turkey Ground meat
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Lower in Sugar Equal
Lower in glycemic index Equal
Rich in minerals Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Ground turkey Ground meat Opinion
Protein 27.37g 23.87g Ground turkey
Fats 10.4g 15.37g Ground meat
Calories 203kcal 241kcal Ground meat
Calcium 28mg 33mg Ground meat
Iron 1.52mg 2.27mg Ground meat
Magnesium 30mg 17mg Ground turkey
Phosphorus 254mg 166mg Ground turkey
Potassium 294mg 241mg Ground turkey
Sodium 78mg 73mg Ground meat
Zinc 3.11mg 5.84mg Ground meat
Copper 0.151mg 0.079mg Ground turkey
Vitamin A 79IU 9IU Ground turkey
Vitamin A RAE 24µg 3µg Ground turkey
Vitamin E 0.11mg 0.12mg Ground meat
Vitamin D 8IU 2IU Ground turkey
Vitamin D 0.2µg 0µg Ground turkey
Vitamin B1 0.077mg 0.051mg Ground turkey
Vitamin B2 0.211mg 0.171mg Ground turkey
Vitamin B3 8.724mg 4.026mg Ground turkey
Vitamin B5 1.193mg 0.512mg Ground turkey
Vitamin B6 0.633mg 0.311mg Ground turkey
Folate 7µg 7µg
Vitamin B12 1.34µg 2.49µg Ground meat
Vitamin K 0µg 2.9µg Ground meat
Tryptophan 0.312mg 0.121mg Ground turkey
Threonine 1.258mg 0.923mg Ground turkey
Isoleucine 1.227mg 1.055mg Ground turkey
Leucine 2.262mg 1.861mg Ground turkey
Lysine 2.452mg 1.976mg Ground turkey
Methionine 0.806mg 0.614mg Ground turkey
Phenylalanine 1.068mg 0.931mg Ground turkey
Valine 1.27mg 1.172mg Ground turkey
Histidine 0.811mg 0.775mg Ground turkey
Cholesterol 93mg 88mg Ground meat
Trans Fat 0.134g 1.173g Ground turkey
Saturated Fat 2.669g 6.073g Ground turkey
Omega-3 - DHA 0.009g 0g Ground turkey
Omega-3 - EPA 0.01g 0g Ground turkey
Omega-3 - DPA 0.012g 0g Ground turkey
Monounsaturated Fat 3.458g 7.322g Ground meat
Polyunsaturated fat 2.917g 0.408g Ground turkey
Omega-6 - Eicosadienoic acid 0.019g Ground turkey
Omega-6 - Linoleic acid 2.508g Ground turkey
Omega-6 - Gamma-linoleic acid 0.008g 0.008g
Omega-3 - ALA 0.136g Ground turkey
Omega-3 - Eicosatrienoic acid 0.001g Ground turkey
Omega-6 - Dihomo-gamma-linoleic acid 0.011g Ground turkey

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Ground turkey Ground meat
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet Equal
Low Calories diet ok
Low glycemic index diet Equal

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores show how much of your all daily needs across all vitamins or minerals this food would cover if you took three 100 grams servings of it (approximation of 3 serving sizes)
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
53%
Ground turkey
46%
Ground meat
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
46%
Ground turkey
49%
Ground meat

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Ground turkey
Ground turkey is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 3.404g)
Which food is cheaper?
Ground turkey
Ground turkey is cheaper (difference - $2)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Ground turkey
Ground turkey is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food contains less Sodium?
Ground meat
Ground meat contains less Sodium (difference - 5mg)
Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Ground meat
Ground meat is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 5mg)
Which food contains less Sugar?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Sugar (0 g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
?
The foods have equal glycemic indexes (0)
Which food is richer in minerals?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Ground turkey - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171506/nutrients
  2. Ground meat - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169474/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.