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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Healthy Eating arrow Is Carne Asada Healthy: Carbs, Proteins, and Calories

Is Carne Asada Healthy: Carbs, Proteins, and Calories

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by Isabel Mayfield
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: May 12, 2023
7 min read 1002 Views 0 Comments
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Thinking about testing out the carne asada at your favorite Mexican restaurant? Here’s everything you need to know before giving it a shot.

is carne asada healthy

Carne asada is a popular meat dish that can be prepared at home and found at your favorite Mexican restaurant. It is simple to make and only involves marinating a piece of meat before cooking it on a grill. 

It’s possible that carne asada is already a regular part of your diet or that you’re considering making it one. But with the number of mixed messages being told about red meat, you might be wondering, is it okay to eat it regularly?’

If this sounds like you, then you’re in the right place. 

Keep reading for an in-depth analysis of the nutritional value of carne asada, as well as the benefits you can expect to glean if you eat carne asada regularly.

What Is Carne Asada?

Carne asada is a meat dish that is usually made from a skirt or flank steak that has been marinated, grilled, and thinly sliced. It is a popular Mexican dish often used on tacos and burritos but has the potential to be an ingredient in a number of alternative meals.

Both skirt and flank are relatively fatty cuts of meat, so carne asada definitely can’t be considered a low-fat meal.

Is Carne Asada Healthy?

Yes, carne asada is healthy, especially when eaten with a simple side such as veggies or a salad. However, certain types of meat used when making carne asada can be quite fatty, so it’s best to limit yourself to a serving size of 100g.

3 Health Benefits of Carne Asada

Before making carne asada a regular part of your diet, you might want to know what benefits you can expect from eating this delicious food. 

Eating carne asada can provide numerous perks, like helping you reach your daily recommended amount of protein and other essential vitamins and minerals. 

#1 Naturally rich in protein

Carne asada is essentially a piece of meat that has been grilled and marinated, and because of this, it is extremely high in protein. A single carne asada serving has up to 27g of protein, which is close to half the recommended daily amount for someone weighing 165lbs.

The amino acids in proteins are essential building blocks for every cell in the human body. When your body is deprived of protein, it lacks the necessary nutrients for cell growth and repair. 

Eating protein-rich foods like carne asada is essential for everyone, and can be especially helpful for people who exercise regularly and active pregnant women.

#2 Full of essential vitamins

The most widely regarded benefit of eating meat, especially red meat, is related to the amount of protein it provides. But many people are unaware that beef contains vitamins such as zinc, selenium, niacin, vitamin B6, and phosphorus. 

And while most of the vitamins just mentioned can be supplemented by eating other foods, vitamin B12, which is found in red meat, is unique to consuming animal products. 

Eating a 100g serving of carne asada can provide you with your daily recommended amount of vitamin B12. A nutrient that is essential in various body functions, including DNA production, healthy nerve function, and the formation of red blood cells.

#3 High in iron

Iron deficiency is the leading nutrient deficiency in the world, impacting between 20–25% of the world’s population, especially women and children. People suffering from iron deficiency will likely experience fatigue, weakness, and headaches.

Fortunately, beef is an amazing source of iron, another essential mineral of the body’s growth and development process. The 3mg found in a 100g serving of carne asada accounts for almost 25% of the daily recommended amount of iron.

#4 Full of good fats

Although fat gets a bad reputation, the truth is they’re an essential part of many of our bodily functions and, therefore, a necessary part of a healthy diet. 

Fats contain fatty acids, which our bodies cannot create on their own. These fatty acids support healthy nerve function, hormone production, and immune responses. 

They also help us absorb certain vitamins, like vitamins A, D, and E, all of which are fat-soluble, meaning they cannot be absorbed without the help of fats.

Nutrition Facts of Carne Asada

When you think of nutritious foods, the first thing that comes to mind might be a green smoothie or broccoli. But the fact is, meat dishes like carne asada are rich in protein and a number of vitamins and minerals unique to red meat, like vitamin B12.

In this next section, we’ll do a deep dive into the nutritional makeup of carne asada so you can decide if eating carne asada is right for you.

Nutritional value per 100g

Calories/ Nutrients (per 100g)Amount
Calories (kcal)196
Net Carbs (g)0
Fiber (g)0
Sugar (g)0
Fats (total)8.76
Protein (g)27.3
Cholesterol (mg)73

Source: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171784/nutrients   

Low in calories

Carne asada on its own, or eaten with low-calorie sides like grilled vegetables, makes for a meal that is chock full of essential vitamins and protein while still being relatively low in calories. 

Anyone trying to lower their calorie intake to lose weight should avoid making tacos out of grilled meat. Although carne asada tacos are delicious, corn tortillas make the carb content of carne asada much higher and can quickly lead to a calorie surplus, especially if you over-indulge.

Moderate amount of fats

The fat content is generally what leads people to question if carne asada is healthy. And although a high-fat diet isn’t ideal for anyone trying to lose fat, eating a moderate amount of fat is necessary for optimal health. 

Because carne asada isn’t made from lean cuts of meat, the fat content on the grilled meat is higher than what you would find in chicken breast or similar alternatives. That being said, using lean meat like flank steak to prepare carne asada can help limit saturated fat content.

Zero carbs and sugars

Carne asada is essentially meat marinated in lime juice, oil, and spices. Because of this, it has no sugar content and is carb-free. Perfect for anyone trying to limit their carb and sugar intake to reach their weight loss goals.

Rich in vitamins and minerals

When it comes to meat that is high in essential vitamins and minerals, red meat is one of the best choices. This grilled beef dish is high in iron, niacin, riboflavin, and vitamins B6 and B12, just to name a few.

High in cholesterol

Not only is carne asada high in cholesterol – a 100g serving contains 73mg of fat – much of this fat is saturated. Saturated fat has been shown to raise your “bad” cholesterol, putting you at higher risk for heart disease

For this reason, carne asada shouldn’t be eaten every day, and it’s important to exercise portion control to limit the amount of cholesterol you ingest at one time. 

Healthy Carne Asada Recipe

Carne asada is a quick and easy meal option that can be cooked at home using simple ingredients. Once cooked, you can serve carne asada with grilled vegetables or make carne asada tacos – just add avocados, onions, and corn tortillas.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 pounds flank steak or skirt steak

Directions

Step 1:

In a gallon-sized resealable bag or large plastic bowl, combine lime juice, crushed garlic, orange juice, cilantro, salt, pepper, olive oil, jalapeno, and vinegar. Mix all the ingredients well.

Step 2:

Put the entire flank steak or skirt steak into the bowl or plastic bag. Seal the top so no air can get in. Ensure that the entire steak is completely covered by the marinade. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 2 hours, but no more than 8, as the lime juice actually cooks the meat.

Step 3:

Turn an outdoor grill onto high heat and allow it to heat up completely.

Step 4:

Remove the steak from the marinade, discarding the leftover marinade. Cook the steak on the grill at high heat for 7–10 minutes, depending on your personal preference.

Looking for more recipes like this one? We would recommend checking out our selected best apps for nutrition for a healthier lifestyle!

FAQs

Does carne asada have carbs?

According to the USDA, a 100g serving of carne asada has 0g of carbohydrates. With beef being the main ingredient, carne asada is a food that is high in fat and protein but essentially carb-free.

How many calories does carne asada have?

According to the USDA, a 100g serving of carne asada has 196 calories, most of which come from its high fat and protein content.

Is carne asada good for weight loss?

Carne asada isn’t typically made from lean cuts of meat and is marinated in high-calorie oil. Because of this, carne asada can be high in calories and fat. That being said, you can still enjoy carne asada as long as you’re mindful of your portion size. If you’re into Mexican food, you may consider Caldo de Res, which is a lot lower in fat and carbs.

A Word from a Nutritionist

Throughout this article, we’ve discussed the potential negative effects of eating red meat, particularly those that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Eating high-cholesterol foods can contribute to heart disease, and it is generally recommended to limit the amount of cholesterol in your diet.

But if you’re a lover of meat dishes like carne asada, don’t worry! You don’t have to sacrifice your heart health in order to continue eating all your favorite red meat dishes.

Over the years, studies have shown that regular exercise can help to offset the effects of eating foods that are high in cholesterol.

This means that if you regularly exercise by running or hitting the gym 4 days a week, you can actually improve your heart health while still eating the foods you love.

Conclusion

Delicious carne asada is a simple meat dish that can be eaten in a number of ways. Combine it with corn tortillas to make carne asada tacos, or, to limit calorie intake, try eating it with a side of grilled veggies.

There are also a couple of ways to limit the cholesterol and saturated fat content of your carne asada dish. Things like using lean meat and limiting the amount of oil you use can help you make carne asada healthier so you can eat beef without worrying about your heart health.

Written by Isabel Mayfield
Isabel Mayfield is a certified yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. She is passionate about self-improvement and loves to help people improve their sense of self-worth through education and support in meeting their fitness goals.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by Isabel Mayfield
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: May 12, 2023
7 min read 1002 Views 0 Comments
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