Ribeye Steak Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Ribeye

Verywell / Lindsay Kreighbaum

A ribeye steak is a cut of beef that comes from the rib area of the cow, situated under the front section of the backbone. This cut of beef can be pan-broiled, grilled, smoked, or fried in a skillet. This steak is known for its rich, juicy flavor and generous marbling.

Beef provides protein and adds different types of fat to your diet. This steak is also a good source of iron and an excellent source of zinc. While including beef in your diet is a topic of debate among health experts, many people include moderate portions of beef like the ribeye steak in a healthy eating pattern.

Ribeye Steak Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 3 ounces (85g) of broiled, ribeye steak from the small end (ribs 10-12).

  • Calories: 199
  • Fat: 10.8g
  • Sodium: 50.2mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 23.8g

Carbs

There are no carbohydrates in ribeye steak—no fiber, no starch, and no sugar. Because beef is not a source of carbohydrate, it is not included in the glycemic index.

Fats

There are about 10.8g of fat in a single serving of ribeye steak. This includes different types of fat. A serving of the meat contains 4.2g of saturated fat, 4.4g of monounsaturated fat, and 0.4g of polyunsaturated fat when it is broiled with no added fat.

The American Heart Association suggests that we limit our intake of saturated fat and choose foods that are higher in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat instead. According to USDA Dietary Guidelines, Americans should consume less than 10% of total calories from saturated fat.

The cooking method will make a difference in the fat content of your steak. Marinating or cooking the meat with butter or oil will increase the fat content.

Protein

A single serving of ribeye steak provides 23.8g of protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

Ribeye steak is an excellent source of zinc, selenium, niacin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12.

Ribeye steak can be a good source of iron, providing 1.44mg per serving. The USDA recommends that most men and adult women consume 8mg of iron per day. Adult women aged 19–50 should consume 18mg per day.

Health Benefits

The risks and benefits of beef consumption are a topic of much debate in the health community. While some experts suggest that plant-based diets (those that discourage red meat consumption) are best for overall health, others suggest that including some red meat in the diet can provide health advantages.

Weight Control

Several studies have suggested that high-quality protein in beef can help you to maintain a healthy weight. In one research review, authors note that several studies have reported that high-quality proteins help promote weight loss, help prevent weight gain and weight regain in adults, reduce fat mass, and protect against reductions in lean body mass.

A report published online by Cambridge University Press discussed the role of red meat in the diets of young infants, adolescents, women of childbearing age, and older adults. Study authors highlight the key nutrients red meat can provide for these groups.

In particular, they note that lean red meat may help weight loss when included as part of an energy-reduced diet because it can improve satiety and is a rich source of high biological value protein and essential nutrients.

In addition, the protein in beef can help you to maintain muscle mass. Studies have shown consuming more animal protein may help you to retain more muscle mass. Muscle mass burns more calories than fat but typically declines with age. By maintaining more muscle you help your body reach a higher resting metabolism.

Reduced Risk of Sarcopenia

Maintaining muscle mass as you age may also help to reduce the risk of a condition called sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is a condition that is characterized by the loss of muscle mass, muscle strength, and muscle functional impairment. The condition typically occurs with aging. Loss of muscle leads can lead to a higher risk of injury and reduced independence for older adults.

Studies have shown that animal protein intake is associated with higher retention of muscle mass, even in older adults who do not exercise. Some studies even say that increasing the consumption of high-quality protein from foods like beef starting in middle age is recommended in order to maintain the quality of life associated with adequate muscle mass.

May Help Prevent Anemia

A serving of ribeye steak provides both iron and vitamin B12. These micronutrients are important for the prevention of anemia—a condition that may cause you to feel sluggish or exhausted. Other symptoms of anemia include dizziness, shortness of breath, paleness, headaches, and cold hands and feet.

Some researchers have noted that heme iron from red meat is an important dietary component to prevent anemia. And the National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists red meat (especially beef and liver) as one of the best sources of both iron and vitamin B12, along with poultry, fish, and shellfish.

Improved Immune Function

Ribeye steak provides protein and zinc, nutrients that are important for good immune health. Together with healthy lifestyle habits (such as washing your hands), including ribeye steak in a healthy diet can provide the nutrients you need to help your immune system work properly.

But there are differing opinions about the role of red meat and optimum immune function. Some studies have linked diets that are higher in red meat consumption and lower in fiber with an increased risk of chronic inflammatory diseases.

Studies are ongoing to better understand how red meat may impact diseases of the immune system such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other diseases of the immune system.

Diabetes Management

Researchers have suggested that adequate dietary protein intake is especially important for those with type 2 diabetes because protein is relatively neutral with regard to glucose and lipid metabolism. Dietary protein also helps to preserve muscle and bone mass, which may be decreased in subjects with poorly controlled diabetes.

Consumers have several choices to increase their protein intake, with meat being a popular option. Processed meats appear to cause a greater risk of type 2 diabetes than unprocessed meats, like a ribeye steak.

Of course, a healthy and varied meal plan that includes different protein sources such as seafood, nuts, beans, and vegetables is recommended by the American Diabetes Association. But the organization suggests that lean cuts of red meat (including those from the rib) are the best choices if you include red meat in your diet.

Allergies

Reports of meat allergies are not common. However, it is possible to have a reaction from a tick bite that can produce IgE-mediated reactions to red meat.

Sometimes called an "alpha-gal" allergy, symptoms may include hives, itching, swelling of the lips, face or eyelids, shortness of breath, cough or wheezing, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea or vomiting. In severe cases, anaphylaxis may occur.

If you notice allergy symptoms after eating ribeye steak or any red meat, reach out to your healthcare provider for personalized advice.

Adverse Effects

The American Heart Association recommends limiting your saturated fat intake to about 13 grams per day. That is equivalent to 5% to 6% of calories from saturated fat (less than is recommended by the USDA). The AHA suggests replacing saturated fat foods with foods that provide monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.

Ribeye steak provides saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fat. It has less fat than ground beef, but still contributes to your total daily intake of saturated fat. People with a personal history or a family history of cardiovascular disease or lipid disorders may need to reduce their overall intake of saturated fats. Be mindful of the amount that you are eating on a regular basis and be sure to balance it with other sources of protein.

Varieties

Consumers have several options when buying ribeye steak (or any cut of beef) at their local market.

Meat Grades

Meat quality is graded by the USDA as either Prime, Choice, or Select. This grading system can help consumers determine the quality of meat. Certain commercial grades of beef (such as some meats sold in grocery stores) can be sold as ungraded.

To assign the appropriate grade shield (or label), beef is evaluated by skilled USDA meat graders using a subjective characteristic assessment process. Electronic instruments are also used to measure meat characteristics.

  • Prime beef is sold in restaurants. It has more marbling (white flecks of intramuscular fat) than other grades and comes from well-fed, young cattle. Dry-heat cooking methods (like grilling, roasting, and broiling) work well for Prime cuts.
  • Choice beef has less marbling but is still considered high-quality meat. Dry cooking methods are also good for Choice beef as long as it's not overcooked. Choice beef may be prepared by simmering or braising as well.
  • Select beef tends to be uniform in quality and leaner than Prime and Choice.
    Select cuts are tender, but they have less marbling. As a result, Choice cuts may not have the juiciness and flavor of the higher grades. Choice-grade meat is often marinated to preserve tenderness.

According to USDA data, there is very little difference in the macronutrient content of a choice ribeye steak and a select ribeye steak. The nutrition information above is provided for all grades of beef. Four ounces of a choice ribeye cap steak provides 211 calories, 12.9g of fat, and 22g of protein. While the same serving of a select ribeye cap steak provides 191 calories, 10.6g fat, and 22.7g of protein.

Grain Fed vs. Grass Fed

In addition to grading, consumers can also make decisions about whether they prefer grain-fed beef or grass-fed beef. Grain feeding is often referred to as the convention system. The grain system is a high energy diet that allows cattle to reach their target end weight sooner.

Grass-fed requires that grass and forage are the only feed source consumed for most of the lifetime of the cow. Animals cannot be fed grain or grain byproducts and must have continuous access to pasture during the growing season.

There is some evidence suggesting that grass-fed beef is better for human health and better for the planet than grain-fed beef. Specifically, grass-fed meat and dairy products show better ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. But grass-fed beef is usually more expensive than grain-fed beef, making it less accessible to those who are on a budget.

When It’s Best

Like all beef products, ribeye steak is available year-round.

To choose the best ribeye steak, look for meat that has a red color and looks moist but not wet. Select a steak with good marbling to get the fullest flavor.

If you are buying steak that is packaged at your local grocery store, be sure that the plastic wrapping has no tears and there is no liquid at the bottom of the tray.

Storage and Food Safety

Ribeye steaks should be kept in the refrigerator if you plan to eat them in the few days after you buy them. You can keep the steak in the plastic and styrofoam package or in the butcher wrap when stored in the fridge. According to the USDA, meat store properly in the refrigerator should last 3–5 days.

If you don't plan to consume your ribeye steak within a few days, you can also freeze it for up to 12 months. Frozen meat should not be kept in the original packaging, but rather in air-tight plastic wrap.

How to Prepare

Broiling and grilling are great options for a ribeye steak. For proper food safety, you should plan to cook your steak for 4–5 minutes per side. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature. A safe minimum temperature is 145 F. Allow your meat to rest for about three minutes after removing it from the heat.

If broiling or grilling is not an option, skillet cooking, oven roasting, smoking, and braising are also good cooking methods for this cut. While you might enjoy your steak with frites or mashed potatoes, you might also consider adding a green vegetable or choosing sweet potatoes or a whole-grain side dish. If you aren't able to finish the whole thing, use the leftovers on top of a salad the next day.

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