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The Truth About Ground Turkey

Updated on July 6, 2012

For a while now, turkey has been known as a one of the best meats to eat to stay healthy and in shape. It is commonly used in place of beef for many common foods like hot dogs, hamburgers, and just your average ground meat. But is simply substituting one for the other enough? Not exactly.

Understanding the Math

Next time you go to the grocery store, take a minute to look at the package of ground turkey or beef you are about to purchase and you will notice that it will have a fraction displayed somewhere on the wrapping (sometimes it’s prominently emblazoned across the front, but sometimes it’s harder to find). The fraction will typically read something like 80/20, or 85/15, but what does it mean?

Well, these numbers are crucial to understanding how healthy your meat actually is, because they represent the ratio of meat to fat. So a package labeled 80/20 means that there is 80% lean meat to 20% fat.

This is 99/1 ground turkey breast.
This is 99/1 ground turkey breast.

Choosing the Right Percentage

Ground turkey can range anywhere from 85/15 to 99/1. 99/1 is the leanest and is essentially ground turkey breast. This is type is obvious because it is light pink in color and turns white when you cook it. Then there’s 93/7 ground turkey, which is a little less lean and is made from ground white and dark meat. The least lean type of ground turkey is 85/15 and is made from ground white and dark meat plus ground skin.

Extra lean ground beef can get as high as a 93/7 lean meat to fat ratio, meaning that some ground beef is actually healthier than some ground turkey, which is why it is so important to pay attention to these fractions. Stick to 99/1 lean ground turkey breast and make sure you are eating healthy.

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