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Turkey Nutrition

Why Choose Turkey?
Turkey's reputation as a lean meat attracts people who say they would like less fat in their diet. But many people also say they like the taste fat gives food, and resist the notion of a mild meat as regular fare. With its high-protein content, eating turkey periodically in place of other meats that are higher in fat and cholesterol can contribute to a healthier diet with no loss of taste or convenience.

Americans are changing the way they eat, recognizing that good nutrition is directly related to good health. Many are turning to meals that are lighter and more healthful. Foods like turkey have an important role in today's diets. The nutritional differences among various meats can be small or quite significant. If you have special dietary needs, it's essential to understand these nutritional differences. Even for those who have no special dietary needs, turkey's nutritional values are very appealing. Turkey offers more nutritional benefits than other meats.

Calcium:
Turkey is richer in calcium than any other meat. A 3.5 oz. serving of dark meat has 32 milligrams of calcium, compared to 11 milligrams for light-meat chicken and 12 milligrams beef sirloin.

Calories:
White turkey is lower in calories than any other meat, including chicken.

Cholesterol:
Turkey is low in cholesterol, has less saturated fat than any other meat, and has a better ration of polyunsaturated to saturated fats.

Fats:
Turkey has less total fat than other meats, including chicken. A serving of turkey is three ounces. Only 5% of the calories in white turkey meat are from fat. Compare to pork loin (52%), beef sirloin (41%), and white chicken meat (20%). Turkey is also lowest in saturated fat - only .5 grams per 100 gram serving.

Protein:
Turkey offers more protein per portion than chicken, beef or pork. Turkey is also highest in methionine, the essential amino acid required for complete protein usage. Because it's delicately flavored, easy to eat, making it easier to digest than many other protein sources, turkey is excellent for the older adult. It's also an excellent protein bargain! Any turkey cut, part or product is high in protein, low in calories, low in fat, low in sodium and low in cholesterol compared to other meats. Turkey is also an excellent source of iron, riboflavin, zinc and vitamins B6 and B12, essential nutrients for energy production and glowing health

Sodium:
Naturally low in sodium, a 3.5 oz. portion of white turkey has only 68 milligrams, approximately 2% of the recommended dietary allowance. Turkey bologna, ham, salami, and smoked sausage offer an average of 22% less sodium than beef and pork counterparts.

For additional turkey nutrition information:
  • National Turkey Federation
  • Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council