Thinking about a big, juicy steak dinner? If you're wondering how many carbs are in steak and the number of calories you'll be eating, here's what you need to know.
Read more: Is Steak Good for Losing Weight?
There aren’t significant amounts of carbs in steak. The number of calories depends on the type of steak, its fat content and how it is cooked; lean cuts have the least fat and calories and are the healthiest.
Steak’s Calorie Count Varies
Most people are referring to beef steaks when they use the term steak, however steak could actually be referring to any cut of meat, including lamb, pork, fish and chicken.
Regardless of which type of meat you choose, most of the steak's calories come from its protein and fat content, because meat isn't a significant source of carbs, as noted by Harvard Health Publishing. The amount of carbs in steak are often therefore either zero, or very low, making steaks compatible with low-carb diets like the keto diet.
As for the steak's calorie content, it can vary quite a bit depending on the type of meat, how much fat it has and how it is cooked. For example, poultry and fish are generally considered to be the leanest forms of meat, however a small August 2015 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes that there are some lean cuts of red meats like beef and pork as well.
Read more: Is Pork Better Than Beef?
Unfortunately, when it comes to beef steaks, a February 2015 study published in the journal Meat Science concluded that the tastiest cuts of steak are considered to be the ones with the most fat. The Mayo Clinic notes that these cuts are usually prime cuts and they tend to be the most expensive.
The cooking method also makes a difference to your steak's calorie count. For instance, a steak that has had the fat trimmed off and has been cooked with a little olive oil, salt and pepper will have a considerably lower calorie count than a steak that is cooked without trimming off the fat, in a rich sauce.
Just to give you some examples, these are the calorie counts of some popular steaks. A 4-ounce serving of tri-tip steak has 228 calories. A 4-ounce serving of New York strip steak has 250 calories. A 4-ounce serving of beef brisket has 327.6 calories.
Trimming the Calories in Steak
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend opting for lean protein when possible to help you limit your consumption of cholesterol, saturated fat and calories. Follow these tips to help lower the calorie content of your steak dinner.
Apart from fish and chicken, lean cuts of meat include the round, chuck, sirloin and tenderloin when it comes to beef, according to the Mayo Clinic. Tenderloin, loin chop and leg are among the leanest cuts of lamb and pork. When you buy the meat, look for cuts that have more than 90 percent of lean meat. Avoid prime beef and opt for choice or select beef instead, since they have less fat.
The Mayo Clinic also advises trimming off all the fat before you cook the meat. You can soak the meat in a low-fat marinade as well, like our Fresh Mango Marinade, to help tenderize it and make up for any flavor that was lost by trimming the fat. After you cook the meat, instead of incorporating the fat into the gravy, blot it off with a paper towel.
Read more: 5 Healthy Red Meat Recipes That Satisfy
- Harvard Health Publishing: “Going Low-Carb? Pick the Right Proteins”
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Diet Retains Effectiveness to Reduce Blood Pressure When Lean Pork Is Substituted for Chicken and Fish as the Predominant Source of Protein”
- Meat Science: “Sensory Evaluation of Tender Beef Strip Loin Steaks of Varying Marbling Levels and Quality Treatments”
- Mayo Clinic: “Cuts of Beef: A Guide to the Leanest Selections”
- Health.gov: “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020”
- Mayo Clinic: “How Meat and Poultry Fit in Your Healthy Diet”
- USDA FoodData Central: “Beef, Bottom Sirloin, Tri-Tip Roast, Separable Lean and Fat, Trimmed to 0" Fat, Select, Cooked, Roasted”
- USDA FoodData Central: “New York Strip Beef Steak”
- USDA FoodData Central: “Beef Brisket, Cooked, Lean and Fat Eaten”