Red meat and fish are two of the best animal proteins on the planet! You’ll find that they both contain all the amino acids you need to build muscle, and they contain a wealth of minerals and healthy fats.
However, when it comes to calories, the two proteins are not created equal. Take a look at the table below, and you’ll see which one is easier on your diet:
As you can see, it’s fish that wins out in the “diet-friendly” category. It contains about 20% fewer calories than red meat, making it a protein that’s a bit easier to fit into your day without overdoing it on calories.
But when it comes to eating right, calories aren’t the only thing to consider. There is a lot more you need to evaluate when comparing the number of calories in meat and fish. It’s time for a “protein-off”–a battle to see which protein is the better option for you:
Protein Content — Both red meat and fish are high in proteins, but red meat contains about 15% more protein than fish. A single 100-gram serving of ground beef (85% lean meat) contains roughly 26 grams of protein, while the same amount of Atlantic salmon only contains 22 grams. Not a big difference, but enough to give meat the edge.
Fat Content — Fish contains more healthy fats, but red meat contains higher quantities of fat overall. In that single serving of 100 grams of ground beef, you get 15 grams of fat. In 100 grams of salmon, you only get 12 grams–roughly 20% less fat!
So, fish is lower in fat, but red meat is higher in the muscle-building protein you need. What else should we compare to find out which protein is better?
Iron Content — Iron is used by our bodies to produce red blood cells, which transport oxygen and nutrients around the body. Red meat contains nearly twice as much iron per serving as fish, making it the better choice for improved circulation and nutrient-delivery.
B Vitamin Content — Red meat contains a lot of Vitamin B12, and is, in fact, one of the few foods that contains it in such high quantities. Fish contains trace amounts of the vitamin, but not enough to drastically impact your metabolism like red meat can.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid Content — Grass-fed beef does contain some Omega-3 fatty acids, but nothing packs an Omega-3 punch like fish! Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and cod are an amazing source of this brain-friendly, immune-boosting, heart-nourishing, inflammation-reducing fatty acid. If you want to be healthy, you NEED more Omega-3 in your life. The best way to get more of this fatty acid is to eat more fish.
Risk of Pollutants — Both red meat and fish have a fairly high chance of being polluted. Unless you buy grass-fed beef, the risk of hormones, pesticides, and other toxins being present is medium to high. If your fish comes from polluted regions of the ocean, the risk of heavy metals is fairly high. It’s important to buy the right kind of both meat and fish in order to reduce your risk of pollutants.
So which is better? Does either red meat or fish win out?
Fish is the better choice for your overall health, thanks to its high Omega-3 fatty acid content. However, if you’re working to build muscle, there’s nothing like red meat. To boost your health to the max, it’s a good idea to add a bit of both red meat and fish to your diet!