Goat meat is a healthy alternative to beef and chicken because of its lower calorie, fat and cholesterol totals. A staple in North African and Middle Eastern cuisine, goat meat comprises 63 percent of red meat consumed worldwide, according to the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service. If you're looking for a leaner alternative to traditional meats, goat meat could be the answer.
Calories and Fat
A 3-ounces portion of goat meat has 122 calories, which is considerably less than beef's 179 and chicken's 162. In terms of fat, goat is much leaner than other, more readily available meats. Goat meat's 2.6 grams of total fat per 3-ounce serving is about one-third of beef's 7.9 grams and roughly half of chicken's 6.3 grams. A serving of goat meat represents just 4 percent of your daily value of total fat, based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
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The Harvard School of Public Health recommends avoiding red meat or choosing only the leanest cuts, because red meat is notoriously high in saturated fat, which can boost cholesterol levels in the blood and contribute to heart disease. But with just 0.79 grams of saturated fat per serving, goat is a heart-healthy alternative to beef and chicken's 3.0 grams and 1.7 grams, respectively. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends you eat less than 20 grams of saturated fat daily. A serving of goat meat contains about 4 percent of your daily value.
Cholesterol and Iron
If you're watching your ever-important cholesterol levels, goat meat can again be a nutritious alternative to other meats. Goat's 63.8 milligrams of cholesterol per 3-ounce serving is considerably less than beef and pork's 73.1 milligrams and chicken's 76 milligrams per serving. Eating goat won't cause you to sacrifice the important blood component, iron, either. Goat meat's 3.2 milligrams of iron per serving trumps beef's 2.9 milligrams and doubles chicken's 1.5 milligrams.
Animal meat is a source of complete proteins, which are proteins containing the eight amino acids your body cannot create on its own. Many people struggle to balance meat's high protein and high fat content. Goat's 23 grams of protein per serving is comparable to the 25 grams in a serving of beef and chicken, meaning you won't have to sacrifice a key protein source. In fact, a 3-ounce serving of goat fulfills 46 percent of most people's daily value of protein.
Though perhaps not as popular as beef, chicken or even lamb in the United States, goat meat sold in retail stores is still subject to United States Department of Agriculture inspection. Goat meat does not contain any growth hormones because the USDA has not approved their use. Also note, because of its lower fat content and the lack of marbling in its meat, goat must be prepared over low heat to preserve tenderness and juiciness.