September 26, 2011

Ask the Dietitian: Venison vs. Beef

Nutrition facts in venison vs. beef- calories, protein, fat, saturated fat and cholesterol compared.
 Venison Steak

My dad, husband, and brother are all hunters so there is always venison available to eat.  I try to make the best nutritional choices possible when it comes to choosing what to eat and did some research about the difference between venison and beef.  Here is what I found comparing the nutrition facts of venison vs. beef.

Beef vs. Venison

I already knew that venison contained less fat than beef particularly because deer are more active animals and eat more natural diets too. Both meats can be eaten as part of a healthy diet but choose the healthier cuts of beef as compared to the higher fat and calorie versions.

Hawaiian Teriyaki Steak Burgers

Nutrition Comparison: Venison vs. Beef

Calories/ 3 ounce Portion
134 calories
Total Fat
3 grams
15 grams
Saturated Fat
1 gram
6 grams
95 mg
76 mg
26 grams
23 grams

Venison Cholesterol

It is important to keep your saturated fat intake down to less than 7% of your daily intake to help keep blood cholesterol levels down. Venison does contain slightly more cholesterol than beef but since the fat and saturated fat content is lower, it is a healthier option.  Both contain a good amount of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, riboflavin, and niacin.

Recipes using venison:

The Ultimate Chili Bar
Hawaiian Teriyaki Steak Burgers

BBQ Cheddar Burgers

Deer Meat Nutrition vs. Beef

Eating about 3 ounces of either of these red meats a day poses no risk on your health and does not raise your risk of heart disease, according to Mayo Clinic. Some other tips to keep your meal healthy is trimming any excess fat, keeping your marinades and condiments low in fat, and using healthy cooking methods such as grilling. 

Is venison better than beef?

If you do decide to purchase beef instead of venison, look for at least 90% lean versions. Some good choices are top sirloin steak, top round steak, and bottom round roast.

Venison vs. Beef

The bottom line, keep your red meat intake to no more than 3 ounces per day and choose lean versions when eating red meat. My choice of red meat to eat is almost always venison. Besides the convenience, I like the taste and love how much healthier it is than beef.

Is venison healthier than beef?

Yes, venison is a lower fat choice than beef overall making it a healthier option than beef.

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  1. My favorite ways to make venison are:

    Chili, Lasagna, pasties, and steak with a seasoning.

    I do not like to eat it straight without seasoning, but prefer it to hamburger for any kind of casserole, pasta sauce, soup, etc.

    Easiest way to compare fat in venison: Cook 1 1/2 pounds of venison burger and you don't need to drain any fat. Cook any burger, even ground round, and you need to drain a lot.

  2. wow this is good to know! Following from blog hop. I like the venison sausage best!

  3. My family is a big outdoor family, so we too have a good stock of venison at home usually. Honestly, I would choose venison over beef myself. I much prefer the taste and it's very economical :)

    I love reading about the differences between the two-I know that venison had health benefits, but It's so great having them compared side by side!

    Great post :)

  4. I LOVE venison. I grew up eating it since my Dad hunts. Luckily my husband does too. My favorite is venison steaks.

  5. Thanks for this, Amanda. My dad, in N.C., eats primarily venison as his protein choice. He is self-diagnosed with celiac disease. He asked me if there's any danger in eating just venison. I will share your chart with him.

    Diana Cullum-Dugan RD LDN

    1. You're welcome! I love venison and think that it is a smart alternative to beef.


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