BEEF Daily

6 Heart-Healthy Beef Cuts To Include In Your Diet


Three extra-lean beef cuts get the American Heart Association’s check of approval.

Every year, about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack, and about 600,000 people die from heart disease -- that’s one out of every four deaths. That makes heart disease the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control.

There’s no doubt about it, heart disease is a scary thing, and when it affects you or a loved one, those numbers aren’t just statistics; they are your real life. Chances are you or someone you know has suffered from heart disease, and when you’re facing a health problem that could steal your life, a patient is willing to do anything to get better, including cleaning up the diet.

A Closer Look: Heart Association Endorses Heart-Healthy Beef

One of the first knee-jerk reactions a heart patient has is to cut red meat out of their diet because of its perception as being high in cholesterol and fat. But, before you give up steaks and burgers altogether, listen to what the American Heart Association (AHA) has to say about beef.

Recently, AHA certified three additional fresh beef cuts to add to its list of approved food items. The AHA stamp of approval is one of the most trusted nutrition icons on food packaging today, with many consumers checking to make sure that the AHA checkmark is on their food products before purchasing.

The six cuts that now meet AHA criteria for heart-healthy include:

  1. Sirloin tip steak (USDA Select)
  2. Bottom round steak (USDA Select
  3. Top sirloin stir-fry (USDA Select)
  4. Boneless top sirloin petite roast (USDA Select)
  5. Top sirloin filet (USDA Select)
  6. Top sirloin kabob (USDA Select)

According to the beef checkoff site,, “More than 83% of consumers have an added awareness of the AHA heart check mark. Nearly 75% of shoppers say the AHA stamp of approval improves the likelihood that they will purchase a product.”

Retailers can work with the beef checkoff program to participate in the AHA Food Certification Program by clicking here.

Having the AHA stamp of approval on beef is good news for producers, too, who already know and understand that our product plays an important role in a healthy diet. 

The checkoff says there is more to come: “These six cuts are only the start, as we plan to continue adding extra-lean beef choices to the list of AHA-certified cuts as part of the beef checkoff program trade association certification. With many of America’s favorite beef cuts already meeting government guidelines for lean, the future is bright for building sales and raising awareness of the positive role that beef, America's favorite protein, plays in a healthful, delicious diet.”

What do you think of this AHA announcement? How do you incorporate these heart-healthy beef items in your daily diet? Be sure to share the positive word about heart healthy beef on your social media contacts today!

By the way, don't forget today is National Ag Day! How will you celebrate?


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Discuss this Blog Entry 12

on Mar 19, 2013

Now wouldn't it be remarkable if AHA actually came to accept the overwhelming research that says saturated fat is an essential nutrient, so they would also endorse the far healthier cuts with good marbling and backfat. The consumer would be happier also. Who wouldn't rather eat a ribeye than a sirloin?

on Mar 19, 2013

I agree. Unfortunately, as a society, we are still very much fat-phobic, so I'm happy that beef is endorsed at all. I think it's a good reminder for folks to hear that more than half of the fat found in beef is mono-unsaturated, the same heart-healthy fat found in olive oil.

W.E. (not verified)
on Mar 19, 2013

Note that the cuts are all USDA select. USDA select beef can be grown on grass without grain, but so can well-marbled low choice beef. If the the cattle have been selected for generations to be suited to grazing in their particular environment, and if their caretakers know what they are doing, their DNA will produce delicious beef without corn on fescue or brome. A better way to make beef heart healthy is to grow it on grass, which is also better for the grass, if the grazing is done with great care, which is also better for the soil, which is also better for the environment, which is also better for the climate of all food-producing regions, all of which is better for the health of human hearts and human souls and human posterity and human prosperity. Yes we need some saturated fat, but it doesn't need to come from grain. It needs to be full of the Omega 3's and beta carotene, the CLA and Vitamin E that come from grass that is under the stewardship of cattlemen whose paradigms have shifted, who know how the world is made to work, not those who are willing to let other people tell them what to think.

on Mar 19, 2013

I appreciate what you are saying, but I do have an issue with slamming one aspect of beef production to promote another. I like that you talk about the benefits of grass-fed beef, which definitely appeals to a certain consumer demographic, but I don't believe this promotion of grass-fed beef needs to be done as a detriment to corn-fed beef, which is also a safe, wholesome, nutritious beef choice for consumers. The great thing about the beef industry is that there are many options for our consumers to enjoy. I would love to hear more about your grass-fed operation though. Care to share more?

W.E. (not verified)
on Mar 20, 2013

When the beef industry began concentrating cattle in feedlots after World War II, much that is now known was unknown, from the effect of managed grazing on the soil to the effect of CLA on the human body. We don't mean to slam those who are breeding cattle in the vicinity of the feedlots, but we do think that those of us in the southeast and lower midwest need to keep our cattle at home on grass. Eventually, the entire beef industry will come to understand that industrial methods of beef production are not sustainable because they are too dependent on fossil fuels. Many will realize also that well-managed grazing herds are a far better alternative for the health of our soils and our cattle, and therefore for the profitability of independent cattlemen. We participated in the feedlot paradigm until the mid-1990s, when we discovered that cows from feedlot-oriented genetics could not survive and thrive in our pastures on grass. To keep from "messing up" the survivor genes in our herd, we started with excellent stock from a continental breed (feedlot-oriented) in 1989 and bred them alongside our grass cattle for ten years. The forage-oriented cattle invariably out-performed the feedlot-oriented cattle. Also in 1989, we started using management-intensive grazing as advocated by Allan Savory, which allowed us to double the stocking rate of our farm, improve the soil and the forage profile, and offer better nutrition for the cattle. We have learned more about MIG in recent years from practicing graziers like Jim Gerrish, who worked for the University of Missouri Forage Systems Resource Center during the 1980s. Our MIG systems continue to evolve, but at least some of our cattle can make it through the winter with little or no hay and no other supplements each year. The more days they strip-graze our fescue paddocks, the healthier they are, and the better the soil is at the end of winter. We make far more profit keeping our all-grassfed calves at home and selling them directly to local consumers that we ever did shipping them a thousand miles to a feedlot. Our farm grows more fertile and its forages more resilient and drought-resistant with each passing year. After 24 years of asking and seeking for a better way to raise cattle (and feeling very isolated from the rest of the beef industry), we were delighted to see that Greg Henderson and Dan Murphy of the Drovers Journal were urging cattlemen to watch Allan Savory's recent TED speech on March 6 & 7; could be a paradigm changer for the entire world.

Darcy (not verified)
on Mar 19, 2013

We're celebrating Ag Day by thanking each farmer & rancher who comes into our office (I work at the Umatilla County USDA Farm Service Agency), and tonight I'm making a special dinner for my husband who ranches to tell him "thank you"!

on Mar 19, 2013

Happy National Ag Day! Our local bank parked a tractor in front of their business today in honor of the holiday, so that's pretty great to see area businesses participate!

Your husband is a lucky guy! I may have to make mine a nice meal tonight. I'm thinking beef kabobs with grilled peppers, onions and mushrooms, with a side of root veggies -- red potatoes, sweet potatoes & squash roasted in olive oil.

Terry Church (not verified)
on Mar 19, 2013

It's great that the AHA is recognizing beef as a healthy food source. Beef is a great protein source.
Our local Farm Credit office (where my wife works) is running National Ag Week and National Ag Day on their sign. I called the local morning DJ (which is a farm boy) at the radio station and told him it was National Ag Day and gave him the website. He recognized the farmers and played farming type songs all morning as a tribute. I'm so glad these businesses recognized National Ag Day. I and my wife both are wearing our NO FARM NO FOOD pins.

on Mar 21, 2013

I love those "No Farm, No Food" pins! So great!

on Mar 20, 2013

All cuts of beef are heart healthy!
Fat in Beef:
• 30% Stearic Acid
• 40% Oleic Acid
• Both lower “small dense” LDL and raise HDL
• Remaining 30% neutral
• Fat in beef is heart healthy

on Mar 21, 2013

So true! It's unfortunate that unless the fat is trimmed, it's not considered heart-healthy...but I hope that one day AHA will recognize all cuts of beef!

on May 8, 2013

There are many people who are suffering from heart diseases and main reason behind these types of diseases is mainly related to our diet. If we have a proper diet then we wouldn't be suffering from this type of diseases because people are more acquainted to junk foods and fast foods. So it is better to maintain a good diet.

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What's BEEF Daily?

BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”


Amanda Radke

Amanda Radke is a fifth generation rancher from Mitchell, S.D., who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State...

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