Is ground turkey high in carbs?

Quick Answer

Ground turkey is not high in carbs. A 4-ounce serving of raw ground turkey contains around 1 gram of carbohydrates, making it a very low-carb food choice.

What are the carb and calorie contents of ground turkey?

The carb and calorie contents of ground turkey depend on the leanness or fat content. Here are the nutrition facts for 4 ounces (113 grams) of different types of raw ground turkey (1, 2):

Type Calories Protein (g) Fat (g) Carbs (g)
Extra lean (99% fat free) 122 26 1 0
Lean (93% fat free) 155 27 4.5 1
Regular (85% fat free) 178 26 8 1

As you can see, even regular ground turkey with a higher fat content still only contains 1 gram of carbs per serving.

Why is ground turkey low in carbs?

Ground turkey is low in carbs because it comes from turkey, which is a type of poultry.

Poultry like chicken and turkey are naturally low in carbs. When you remove the skin and are just left with the lean meat, the carb content becomes even lower.

Protein foods like meat, fish, eggs and poultry do not naturally contain significant amounts of carbohydrates. Any carbs come from small amounts of glycogen stores in the muscle tissue.

So when you take ground turkey on its own without any breading, batter, sauces or seasonings, the carb count stays very low at around 1 gram per serving.

How does ground turkey compare to ground beef?

Ground beef typically contains slightly more carbs than ground turkey, although the amount remains low.

Here are the nutrition facts for a 4-ounce (113-gram) serving of different types of raw ground beef (3, 4, 5):

Type Calories Protein (g) Fat (g) Carbs (g)
96% lean 122 23 3 0
93% lean 152 24 6 0
90% lean 163 24 8 0
85% lean 175 23 10 0
80% lean 189 22 12 1

Both ground beef and ground turkey are naturally low in carbs. However, fattier cuts of ground beef contain slightly more carbs, with 1 gram per serving in 80% lean ground beef versus around 0 grams in 96–90% lean varieties.

So ground turkey may have a very minimal edge over regular ground beef when it comes to carbs. However, both can be considered excellent low-carb choices.

Is ground turkey keto-friendly?

Ground turkey is a keto-friendly food.

The ketogenic diet typically limits carbs to 20–50 grams per day. With only around 1 gram of carbs in a 4-ounce (113-gram) serving, ground turkey easily fits into a keto eating plan.

It also contains a good amount of protein, which can help you meet your daily protein goal on keto. Getting adequate protein is crucial to preserving muscle mass on a very low-carb diet.

Here are some other reasons ground turkey is an excellent keto food:

– It’s convenient. Ground turkey is versatile and easy to add to many different recipes.

– It’s nutritious. Turkey provides several important nutrients like selenium, zinc, vitamins B6 and B12.

– It’s versatile. Use ground turkey to make keto-friendly dishes like meatballs, burgers, tacos, chili, meatloaf, casseroles and more.

– It’s budget friendly. Ground turkey tends to cost less than ground beef. Choosing turkey can help keep your grocery bill down on keto.

So feel free to enjoy ground turkey on a keto diet. Just be sure to choose fattier cuts or add healthy fat from oils, cheese or avocados to balance out the protein.

Does cooking or processing increase the carbs in ground turkey?

Cooking or processing ground turkey does not significantly increase the carb content.

Turkey contains very little carbs to begin with. Cooking, grilling, frying or baking it does not suddenly make it high-carb.

Even adding some basic seasonings like salt, pepper and spices adds minimal carbs.

The only way the carb count substantially increases is if you bread, batter or coat the turkey and fry or bake it. Even then, the carbs come mostly from the coating rather than the turkey itself.

For example, here is the carb count for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of some popular turkey products (6, 7, 8):

Food Carbs
Roasted turkey breast 0 grams
Grilled turkey patty 0.6 grams
Fried turkey nuggets 8.8 grams
Turkey bacon 1.4 grams

As long as you choose unbreaded cuts of turkey and minimize added sugars or high-carb ingredients, the carb content remains very low even after cooking.

What are some low-carb ways to eat ground turkey?

Here are just a few healthy, low-carb recipe ideas for ground turkey:

– Turkey lettuce wraps. Sauté ground turkey and top with lettuce leaves, cheese, avocado, onions, tomatoes and ranch dressing.

– Turkey burger. Make a classic burger wrapped in lettuce or served on a low-carb bun. Load it with toppings like cheese, mushrooms and egg.

– Taco turkey bowl. Cook ground turkey with taco seasoning and serve over cauliflower rice with avocado, salsa, peppers and sprinkle of cheese.

– Turkey Bolognese. Sauté turkey and make a Bolognese sauce to toss with zucchini noodles or shirataki noodles.

– Turkey meatballs. Make baked turkey meatballs and serve them over zoodles with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese.

– Turkey stuffed peppers. Stuff bell peppers with turkey and veggies like mushrooms, spinach and cheese then bake until tender.

– Turkey chili. Cook up turkey chili with lots of veggies and spices. Top with avocado and sour cream.

– Turkey casserole. Combine ground turkey with low-carb veggies like cauliflower and cream cheese or coconut milk. Top with cheese and bake.

Should you choose extra lean ground turkey?

Extra lean ground turkey with 99% fat removed has some benefits. It’s lower in calories and fat than regular ground turkey while providing the same amount of protein.

However, extra lean ground turkey also has some downsides:

– It’s less flavorful and juicy. Removing almost all the fat makes the meat drier.

– It can become rubbery when cooked. Fattier cuts of ground turkey have more moisture, which prevents rubberiness.

– It’s less filling. Dietary fats are very satiating and help keep you full between meals.

– It may still need added fat. Even if you don’t eat fatty turkey, you’ll likely end up adding other fats like oil when cooking.

For keto and low-carb diets, fattier cuts of ground turkey are ideal since dietary fat is encouraged.

However, even extra lean turkey can fit into a low-carb lifestyle. You may just need to add some extra fat when cooking to keep it moist and flavorful.

Should you aim for organic, free-range ground turkey?

There are some benefits to choosing organic, free-range ground turkey when possible.

Studies show organic poultry tends to provide more omega-3 fatty acids. The grass-fed diet of free-range turkeys may also provide more vitamins and antioxidants (9, 10).

However, you can still make healthy low-carb recipes with conventional ground turkey.

If your budget allows, organic and free-range turkey are good options. But traditional ground turkey can also work if cost is a concern.

Is ground turkey high in cholesterol?

Ground turkey does contain cholesterol.

A 4-ounce (113-gram) serving of raw ground turkey packs in: (11)

– 72 mg cholesterol (regular)
– 82 mg cholesterol (extra lean)

For reference, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming less than 300 mg of cholesterol per day (12).

So while ground turkey does have cholesterol, a serving still provides just under one-third of the daily recommendation. It can easily be part of a diet that meets the cholesterol guideline.

If you have been advised to limit dietary cholesterol for health reasons, you can reduce your intake from ground turkey in several ways:

– Choose extra lean ground turkey. It’s slightly lower in cholesterol than regular.

– Have smaller serving sizes like 2–3 ounces (57–85 grams) rather than 4 ounces (113 grams).

– Limit consumption to a few times per week rather than daily.

In moderation as part of an overall healthy diet, most people don’t need to avoid ground turkey due to its cholesterol content. However, those with certain medical conditions like hyperlipidemia should consult their healthcare provider about appropriate intake.

The bottom line

Ground turkey is very low in carbs, with only around 1 gram per serving. It’s an excellent protein source suitable for low-carb, keto and even diabetic diets.

Compared to beef, ground turkey may contain slightly fewer carbs – but both are considered low-carb options.

Cooking ground turkey does not significantly increase its carb content. To keep carb counts low, opt for unbreaded cuts instead of fried nuggets and sticks.

Organic, free-range ground turkey provides extra benefits. However, you can still make healthy low-carb meals with conventional ground turkey as well.

While ground turkey does contain cholesterol, this typically does not need to be a concern for most people consuming it in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

Overall, ground turkey can be a tasty and nutritious addition to a low-carb lifestyle. Many delicious low-carb recipes can be created using ground turkey.

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