May 28, 2013

Washing Away the Fat?

Today is Trim, Healthy Tuesday.  Check out Gwen's and Stacy's blogs for more great lifestyle tips and recipes!
I have expressed my desire to not be legalistic when it comes to food.  I don't want to live by how many grams of this, or how many servings a day of that, that I can have.
This is part of the appeal that Trim, Healthy Mama has to me.  You can eat whatever, whenever and how much you want.  It's just knowing that not all foods, or amounts, are conducive to weight-loss.
I also enjoy knowing that I can be really organized with meal planning, but if I slack off, then it's still pretty easy to put something together and we will probably not starve any time soon.

Lately, there's been much buzz within the THM world about getting rid of excess fat in meats that are traditionally higher fat, like ground beef.  I will admit that I don't always buy grass-fed, organic meat.  This just doesn't suit my life or budget at this point, and I will admit that I shop the sales. I do tend to buy what's on sale, not the ground beef with the least fat.
So, I'm wondering if all that I've been hearing about "just rinse it and drain it, and your ground beef will be nutritionally like grass-fed" is really true?  On THM this means that the meat just became a more versatile ingredient as it isn't a low-fat diet.

This intrigued me to a degree.  I obviously don't have too much to think about because this took up some room in my brain.

I do tend to rinse my ground beef if I'm adding it to a red sauce or making nacho meat, but when doing this it didn't seem to make it like grass-fed beef I have used.
Then I was thinking about how fat congeals easily when I wash the pan if the water isn't hot enough.  Instead of washing it off, am I really just making it adhere even worse and defeating my purpose altogether?

The skeptic in me wasn't buying this, but I figured there had to be some smart people out there with too much time and university or government money who did studies on this type of thing, and I was not wrong.  There are studies and recommendations regarding this.  You can find some here and here even.

It appears that if you do choose to rinse and drain ground meat, then you can remove a great deal of fat.  Meat with the higher fat/lower priced lost the most ( also had the most to lose), but just cooking and blotting/allowing it to drain will also make a huge difference.
Rinsing was studied using water at 150 degrees followed by a 5 minute draining as well.

So technically, you can drain, blot and rinse your beef to significantly reduce the fat content.  I will add that if your meat is from a questionable source, this might be especially beneficial as hormones and pesticides are often bound to the fat of the animal.

How to do it?
For crumbled meat:
Brown your meat till, well, brown.  It should be 160 degrees according to the powers-that-be.
Heat a quart of water to 150-160 degrees, not boiling.
Remove the meat from the pan and place on 3 layers of paper towel (yes, the instructions I found specified 3 and the ground beef fairy will be watching you!).  Let it drain here for 30-60 seconds.  Blotting with additional paper towels.
Transfer blotted beef to strainer of some sort and pour the hot water over top.  Allow 5 minutes to drain.
Proceed with your recipe.

Burgers won't have as much of a reduction in fat as they can't be rinsed, but this is the protocol for lowering fat with them:
Cook patties
Drain on 3 layers of paper towels for 1 minute, turn and let the other side drain for 30 seconds.

You can, with proper steps, be sure that you are lowering the fat in the meat that you buy and bring it to the level of grass fed animals.  This will help to make your purchases more versatile in the THM world.
The fact is that I probably won't waste time rinsing meat regularly.  Draining, maybe.  I am pretty cheap and that is a lot of paper towels though.  And then you have the whole flavor deal too.
But it is nice to have options of using ground beef with an E style/carb focused meal.

Luckily, you can see the stats (note Table 3), and are free to make your own decisions.


Stacy Makes Cents said...

EXCELLENT post! I get beef from my Daddy's farm and my husband hunts venison, so I've never really considered this. Great info.

Gwen said...

Love this trick!