Lentils Vs. Beef

Are Lentils Better Than Beef?

Lentils are undoubtedly one of the top legumes whenever we consider protein sources that are plant-based. Moreover, it acts as a natural alternative for meat such as beef, chicken, etc.

Both lentils and beef have similarities in terms of their benefits, but there is also a fine line of difference between the two.

Both sources are beneficial for your health, but there is an edge that lentils possess over beef or meat in general. Today, in this article, we will be breaking down the concepts, similarities, and that’s why lentils take the upper hand here.

What Are Lentils?

Lentils consist of one of the oldest foods in the world. It was raised by many growers during 8000 BC back in the Middle East. The Egyptians would regard lentils as royalty food, but the Greeks would consider it a poor man’s meal.

These beans are lens-shaped and come in an array of varieties, with the most common ones being red, brown, and green. Many dietitians refer to this food because of its Gluten-free and nutritious nature.

Are Lentils Better Than Beef?

What Is Beef?

Many folks have been eating and enjoying beef meat for thousands and thousands of years now. This meat comes from domesticated cattle, with the first one tracing back to 10,000 years ago, back in the Middle East.

But with migration, the meat made its way to Africa soon. Beef looks quite different now in comparison to the early farming days. Don’t underestimate this meat because it possesses a rich source of minerals, proteins, and vitamins.

What Is Beef?

Comparing Lentils & Beef

Here’s a breakdown of each layer:

Calories – Beef possess more calories than lentils, with 139%. It has over 277 calories for every 100g, whereas lentils only have 116 calories. Beef is heavier when it comes to protein and fat but light in carbs than lentils for every calorie. The macronutrient ratio for protein, carbs, and fat from calories of beef and lentils are 38:0:62 and 30:67:3, respectively.

Calcium – Beef features more calcium compared to lentils by 84%. Beef possesses 35 milligrams of calcium for every 100g, and lentil features about 19 milligrams of calcium.

Iron – Iron is present sufficiently in both lentils and beef. Lentils possess 48% more iron compared to beef. Here, beef possesses 2.3 milligrams of iron for every 100g, and lentils have 3.3 milligrams of iron.

Fat – Beef has a high amount of saturated fat, whereas lentils possess less saturated fat till 99% compared to beef. Here, beef saturated fat till 7.3g for every 100g, and lentils possess about 0.05 grams of saturated fat.

Lentils also possesses lesser trans-fat compared to beef. With over 1.2 grams of trans fat for every 100g present in beef, lentil doesn’t feature significant amounts.(1)

Lentils also possess lesser cholesterol compared to beef. Here, beef feature about 88mg of cholesterol for every 100g. But lentil doesn’t contain such significant amounts.

Potassium – Both lentils and beef contain a high amount of potassium. But Lentils have 34% more potassium compared to beef. Here, a beef has 275 milligrams of potassium for every 100g, and lentils feature over 369 milligrams of potassium.

Dietary Fiber – When it comes to dietary fiber, lentils are a great source. It possesses a higher amount of dietary fiber compared to beef. Here, lentils possess about 7.9 grams of dietary fiber for every 100g. But beef, on the other hand, doesn’t contain the required amounts.

Protein – When we talk about protein, both lentils and beef are rich in them. Beef, in comparison to lentils, has more protein with a whopping 181%. Beef features 25.4 grams of protein for every 100g. Here, lentils have about 9grams of protein.

Sugar – Beef features a lesser amount of sugar in comparison to lentils. Here, lentils possess 1.8 grams of sugar for every 100 grams. Beef doesn’t have a significant amount like lentils.

Are Lentils Better Than Beef?

In a Nutshell

Here are the similarities and differences in short between lentils and beef:

  • Both these foods feature a high number of calories, protein, iron, and potassium.
  • Beef possesses a higher amount of riboflavin, Vitamin B12, and niacin. Lentils, on the other hand, contain more folate and Thiamin.
  • Lentil makes for a great source of fiber in comparison to beef.

Why Should You Choose Lentils Over Meat?

Here are the reasons why you should pick lentils over meat as the greater diet by taking ground beef as an example:

Minerals – Every half cup of lentils offers 3.3mg of iron or over 19%of the DV, 369mg of potassium or over 11% of the DV, and 36mg of magnesium or about 9% of the DV. Here, ground beef offers slightly lesser of these minerals.

Every serving contains 2.5mg of iron, 346mg of potassium, and 21mg of magnesium. But it does feature more zinc and phosphorus. Also, lentil tend to contain a lesser amount of sodium than meat, with only 2mg for every serving than 76mg present in each ground beef serving.

Macronutrients – A half cup of cooked lentils contains over 116 calories, 8g of fiber, 0.4 of fat, and 20g of carbs. On the other hand, a small 3oz of 85% lean pan-browned ground beef that is about 85 grams feature 218 calories, 15g of fat, 5g of saturated fat, and 24g of protein.

Here, the lentils offer 32% of the fiber in their daily value, causing you to feel fuller and also lessens the chances of heart disease risks. Ground beef offers 23% of the DV for the total fat and 25% of the DV for no fiber and saturated fat.

Vitamins – Every half cup of lentils gives you 181mg of folate or 45% of the DV in comparison to 8mg or 2% of the DV in the ground beef. The lentil also possess an increased thiamine amount, offering 11% of the DV for every serving in comparison to the 2% in every ground beef serving. But while lentil lack Vitamin B12, every ground beef serving features 2.4mg or 40% of the DV. Also, ground beef possesses more riboflavin, vitamin B6, and niacin than lentil.

Health Benefits – Consuming lentils daily will help in lessening the chances of developing cancer. But when you eat red meat daily, you increase the risks of suffering from heart disease and cancer.

Lentil will prove to be more healthier and safer than meats. You should avoid processed meats and should stick to leaner beef cuts, including top sirloin steak, bottom round, the eye of round, sirloin tip side steak, and top round. By consuming them, you reduce these potential risks.


Lentils aren’t just easy to prepare, but they also have a lot to offer. They are extremely nutritious and low in fat.

It is healthier and smarter to regularly incorporate them in your diet rather than meat. However, that doesn’t mean you should completely deprive yourself of consuming meat. You should take them in moderation, just like any other food.

Jason Shaw is an experienced bodybuilder, gym owner, nutritionist and content creator for many websites. He has competed at a high level and wants to bring that experience in muscle building, fitness and nutrition including supplements to our many readers, whether you're a skinny guy want to build muscle or a seasoned bodybuilder.

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