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The Healthy Cook’s Guide to Ground Beef

Ground beef continues to be the favorite for American red-meat eaters, accounting for 60% of all fresh beef prepared in-home, according to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. Americans eat an average of three burgers per week—50 billion burgers per year. That's a lot of beef and, depending on the mix, a lot of fat.

We wondered: Do fattier cuts of ground beef lose a higher percentage of their fat over heat, since the fat just seems to melt into the coals? And if so, does a cheaper, fattier cut end up as lean as the 90/10 (90% lean, 10% fat) that we usually recommend? We sent samples to the lab to find out.

What we learned is that, yes, more fat in a patty to begin with means more fat will drip off on the grill. However, while the 80/20 grind lost the most fat on the grill (an average of 7g fat and 2.9g sat fat per patty), the resulting burger was still left with almost double the sat fat of the leaner 90/10.

The Takeaway: Stick with the 90/10 grind. You get a bigger burger that's just as tasty, with less fat. And there's still calorie room for a whole-grain bun and fresh toppings, like smashed avocado, crisp greens, and pickled veggies.

More Fat Facts: