Keep in mind that these guidelines are according to United States standards. Variations will occur in other countries.
Ground hamburger: Ground from less tender and/or less popular cuts of beef. Generally the butcher reserves trimmings from other meat cuts (excluding innards) to grind into hamburger and ground beef. This means in theory there could be pieces of sirloin, chuck, ribs, or even filet mignon in that package of hamburger. According to USDA standards, hamburger may have fat added, but cannot contain more than 30% fat by weight.
Ground beef: Basically the same as ground hamburger but it cannot have added fat. It cannot contain more than 30% fat by weight.
Specialty ground beef: If the label says it's ground sirloin or ground chuck, then those are the only parts included in the grind. These grinds are typically more expensive and leaner than the all-inclusive ground beef or hamburger. However, buyer beware. Ground sirloin or ground round can conceivably be no leaner than inexpensive ground beef, yet still be properly labeled as long as it doesn't claim to be lean. Don't depend on the cut to define leanness. The following percentages are used as a guideline for specific cuts:
Ground chuck : 80 to 85 percent lean / 15 to 20 percent fat
Ground round : 85 to 90 percent lean / 10 to 15 percent fat
Ground sirloin : 90 to 92 percent lean / 8 to 10 percent fat
Lean ground beef: Must meet the requirements of ground beef but may not contain more than 22 percent fat.
Extra-lean ground beef: Must meet the requirements of ground beef but may not contain more than 15 percent fat. "I guess that makes Skinny Beef ground beef at 2% fat, extra, extra, extra, extra, extra lean." - Andy.
Here's a great article that I received from my first customer...a Naturopathic Physician:
And here is another recent article on lean beef and cholesterol. If Skinny Beef had been mentioned, we'd likely top the list...as this list goes from least fat to most fat cuts of beef. Keep in mind that all of the cuts mentioned are actually part of Skinny Beef ground beef!
_ Where’s the beef? Red meat can be part of low-cholesterol diet January 4, 2012
If you have high cholesterol, you might not need to skip the steak after all — just don’t plan on ordering the rib eye. A recent study conducted by Pennsylvania State University researchers and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that a well-rounded diet, complete with lean beef, may actually lower cholesterol just as effectively as a sans-beef diet.
The study summary This new research contradicts what we’ve heard time and time again: Red meat is a red flag for those trying to avoid high cholesterol. Between late 2007 and early 2009, researchers followed 36 people with borderline-high cholesterol who were given four different diets, all of which contained about the same number of calories, for five weeks each:
Diet No. 1: the “healthy American diet,” which included fruits, vegetables, oils, saturated fat and refined grains;
Diet No. 2: the DASH diet, a diet containing mostly fruits and veggies that is often recommended for patients with high blood pressure; and
Diet No. 3 & 4: included 4-oz. and 5.5-oz lean meat per day in the form of grilled, braised or fried top round, chuck shoulder pot roast and 95% lean ground beef.
The results indicated that the “healthy American diet” slightly raised cholesterol, while the DASH diet and lean-beef-inclusive diets lowered LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol from an average of 139 mg/dL to 129 mg/dL and lowered total cholesterol from an average of 211 mg/dL to 200 mg/dL.
About cholesterol LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, cholesterol is considered the “bad” cholesterol because elevated LDL levels can cause plaque to form in artery walls and are thus associated with increased risk of heart disease. HDL, or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, is considered the “good” cholesterol because high HDL levels help prevent the development of heart disease.
What qualifies as lean meat? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, “lean meat” means it contains less than 10 g of fat, 4.5 g or less of saturated fat and less than 95 mg of cholesterol per a 3.5-oz. serving. “Extra-lean meat” means the cut has less than 5 g of total fat, 2 g or less of saturated fat and less than 95 mg of cholesterol per a 3.5-oz. serving.
If you’re watching your cholesterol, here’s a list of cuts of meat that “make the cut” for “lean beef” labeling, in order from least to most fat content: