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Fat in Flank Steak?


I eat 4 oz of organic flank steak PWO in which every bit of visible fat is removed -- I even dig in to the chunks inside and get them out.

The standard calorie counters (and USDA) say there is over 6 grams of fat in 4 oz of flank steak. Honestly, I find that hard to believe. The counters probably don't consider that the meat is grass-fed organic beef which is a lot leaner nor that someone is obsessive enough to remove every speck of fat possible to see.

I just want to be accurate about my macronutirents and not accidentally consume too little fat.

What do people think?


There is fat in the muscle tissue also.


Justin Harris in his dvd "Project Superheavyweight" eats flank and round steak as LOW fat protein sources. I don't think you have to worry too much. I think he mentions that flank is as lean as chicken for what its worth.


@ DoubleDuce -- I do realize that there is some in the muscle but it is really minimal. In 4 oz I doubt there are 6 grams. I would be surprised if there were 2.

@ Hawaiilifter -- When Justin Harris compared it to chicken -- am I correct in assuming he was referring to boneless, skinless chicken breast meat?


Flanks gotta be at least a few % fat by weight. Kind I see at costco has little white fat chunks on it, and in between the ribbons, not as much as a regular cut, but still has fat.

Don't think it's as lean as chicken though... And I'm not trying to disagree with Justin Harris, maybe he's got a nice lean cut of flank, I don't know, but from costco or safeway, I think there is some fat on there, maybe 10g per 60g protein or so?


Unless Cotsco or Safeway carry grass-fed organic beef -- one will see fat between the ribbons. Grass-fed Organic beef has been shown to have significantly less fat than its counterparts in mainstream stores. (I shop at Whole Foods.)

When one puts standard corn-fed beef next to organic grass fed-beef of any cut -- the difference in fat is remarkable. In most cuts the marbling all but disappears -- and I have seen no marbling in the cuts of flank I buy.

But your suggested ratio indicates 4 grams of fat for 4oz of Flank as opposed to the 6 grams the USDA and others suggest, which is probably more accurate. But my guess is that the amount of fat is still less.

BTW not everyone likes the taste of organic grass-fed beef, which is why not all Whole Foods stores sell it. It depends on the demand of their particular clientele.

But it is healthier -- higher in CLA, naturally much lower in fat and a lot of other goodies.


Yeah, it was just an estimate, I have no idea...

So it's more like 15g fat per 60g protein? Still kinda fatty... I have a friend who could slaughter me one of his grass-fed cowzers, but I'm not sure I'd want that much beef, maybe 1/2 cow or 1/4, but that's still alot of beef. And I've never had grass-fed so I'd have to try it to see if I like it before I go out and spend $200 or so on more than I could eat in 2-3 months, hah!

Ok so wait... you remove all the fat in your steak, then worry you might be consuming too little fat?


If you are worried about getting too little fat, why go to all the trouble to dig out all the visible fat? Also, unless you are doing some kind of contest prep, you are WAY overthinking things. Find some average values for grass-fed organic beef, adjust your portions based on your progress.


Yeah, it's a good idea to see if you like the taste of grass-fed beef before ordering a slab. Not everyone does. I happen to love it. I actually feel better when I eat it. I don;t even go out to restaurants any more because the commercial stuff is filled with pesticides, corn-fed, etc., etc.

There is a fast-food chain (finally) that sells only grass-fed organic hamburgers along with veggie burgers, salads, milk-shakes etc. One just opened up where I live and it was extremely good (though mot quite as good as homemade). It's called Elevation Burger and the hamburgers were great.

I know what I wrote was a little counter-intuitive but when I am on a food plan with very specific macros co-ordinated with workouts -- in order to ensure the macros are as precise as possible -- I try to do things like get rid of all the fat on meat so I know pretty much how much fat I am actually consuming.

So if I cut away all the visible fat from meat that is far leaner than the USDA meat but use the USDA measurements -- I will count that I consumed 6 grams of fat instead of (say) the actual 2 grams. So if it is a meal at which I am supposed to consume 15 grams of fat -- I will add 9 grams of fat from something else to the meal. 6+9 = 15

But if I am only getting 2 grams of fat from the beef when I think it is 6, I will be consuming 2+9 = 11 grams of fat. So I will be short 4 grams of fat for that meal -- and given that I eat a lot of meat generally, that accumulates to quite a shortfall over the day and over the week (same problem with pork.)

I know I am being obsessive but if I am not precise and weigh and measure everything == I start getting really sloppy and start consuming way too much. It is the only way I am able to stay disciplined. But if I am under-eating the amount of fat I need I start developing cravings that become hard for me to control -- as well as not getting all the nutrition I need.

I am not doing a contest prep -- I am coming back from 3 years of a string of medical issues which led to a fair bit of muscle loss as well as weight gain (from long term steroid use -- drove me crazy.) I am having a hard time getting back on track. It's not as "effortless" as it used to be.

So I hope that explains it sufficiently enough that I don't seem completely bonkers :slight_smile:


That is pretty tough to do. There does not seem to be any formal measurements of the macronutrients of organic grass-fed beef. At least not that I found. There have just been studies to show it is lower in fat, higher in CLA and other preferable aspects.


Flank is a kind of tough meat in my opinion.


Sorry Justitia, I misquoted Justin Harris. He was comparing round steak vs. chicken breast.

  1. There is 4g of fat per 4 ounces of ROUND steak while
  2. There is 3g of fat per 4 ounces of chicken breast.

He said that he eats flank steak in smaller quantities because it has a little more fat than round steak but it taste better.

Also, for pre-contest he prefers chicken breast, turkey, and egg whites as his main food protein sources while
off-season he prefers the red meats - flank and round steak.

Much apologies.


Try this:

Its not for flank, but you can compare it to regular strip and make some estimates about the fat ratio in the flank. But bear in mind that all these nutrition values are estimates or averages. There is really NO way to know your EXACT macros every day. Since the measures are averages, it should all average out for you in the aggregate. Like I said before, just adjust things based on your results, every 2 weeks at most. Less than 2 weeks isn't really long enough to make a good determination.


How are you cooking it? A good part of the fat will melt/burn out as you cook it. Not sure if cooking is considered in the analysis.

When I make chili and use 80/20 ground chuck, I'll cook it down first and drain out the grease, then turn it into chili. When I store leftover chili (or even stew) overnight in the fridge, I can scrape off the grease that forms on the top. In essence, I've turned 80/20 into something close to 90-95%.


Flank is relatively tough because it's so lean-- that's why it's the usual cut used for "London Broil" along with Angus Shoulder: http://tnation.tmuscle.com/free_online_forum/diet_performance_nutrition_supplements/la_cucina_anabolica_italiana (2nd recipe)

A flank steak is best eaten in very thin strips cut against the grain of the meat. Makes chewing a lot easier.


A bit OT, but a quick and delicious flank steak meal: two cans white beans, half a sweet onion and chopped red bell peppers. Drizzle with red wine vinegar, salt & pepper. Broil on high for 7 mins, mix things around and broil a bit more until the beans crisp up. Remove and then throw in the flank steak with the same prep for 7 mins per side. A quick and fantastic low fat meal (with a good amount of fiber).


I pan-sauté the flank steak in stick-free fry pan with olive oil misted on it. The organic, grass-fed flank steak I get is a rather large piece so I can cut relatively thin strips of steak (like 2-3 inches wide) against the grain.. On days I feel like spice I use Merken Mapuche Spice meat rub and on days I want it a little milder I use Paul Prudomme's Meat Magic Seasoning blend.

I sear both sides and the edges on relative high heat and then cook it on medium about 5 minutes on each side on a small burner. It is still quite juicy and tender and not too cooked -- but the chewy element can't be avoided cooking it that way -- but I find it not too bad and any way I like to chew ... :slight_smile:


Grass-fed is delcious, just pricy.