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Steak on Keto: Benefits, Nutrients, and Best Cuts

By Liam McAuliffe Updated on

A well-formulated keto diet is based on nutrient-dense, high-fat, low-carb foods. This makes steak on keto a no-brainer. 

Fatty cuts of steak provide near-perfect keto macro percentages, with essentially zero carbs. What most people don’t know is that steak also provides a rich array of bioavailable vitamins, minerals, and compounds, many of which are found only in meat

Let’s explore the role of steak on keto, including some of the best cuts of steak, and share a couple of easy keto steak recipes. 

Table of Contents

Why Steak on Keto

Ruminant animals like steak, bison, elk, and lamb are the gold standard of keto diets. 

The rumen is the first of four stomachs, and it’s here that cellulose from plants and grass is broken down by symbiotic microorganisms. 

Pigs, fish, and poultry don’t have a rumen and are therefore not as good at processing foods into healthy fats and nutrients. Ruminants are also proficient at eliminating plant toxins and antinutrients found in plant foods. In contrast, when humans eat plant foods, these plant defense mechanisms can wreak havoc on our bodies on a cellular level. 

Part of the ruminant digestive process includes fermentation of plant foods into Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). 

Animal products containing CLA offers humans various health benefits, including [1][2][3][4][6]:

  • Decreases body fat, increases lean muscle mass
  • Reduced atherosclerosis
  • Supports immune function
  • Prevents and treats diabetes
  • Supports bone formation and mineral density

The human body cannot manufacture CLA on its own, which means that you need to get it through dietary sources–steak on keto is a prime source. 

Historical Origins of Steak on Keto

Recent research suggests that our caveman ancestors ate a diet of mostly meat for 2 million years [7].  

Our ability to easily enter ketosis, evolved in response to this ancestral carnivorous eating pattern. Over eons, the human body became proficient at using dietary fat for fuel, storing fat on the body, and breaking down body fat into the energy molecules called ketones between successful hunts. 

Steak on keto nourishes our bodies with the fats and proteins that our physiology is optimized to thrive on. 

Top “Cuts” of Steak for Keto

When selecting the best steak for keto one place to start is by looking for the fattiest cuts. 

Most keto diets call for fat, carb, and protein ratios that look like this: 

  • 70-80% of calories from fat
  • 15-30% calories from protein
  • 0-10% calories from carbohydrate

Let’s take a look at some of the fattiest “cuts” of steak for your keto diet, arranged top to bottom by the number of grams of fat per 100g.

Nutrition Info per 100g oz. 

Beef CutCaloriesFatProteinCarbs% Calories from fat% Calories from protein
Boneless short ribs4714221.608020
Ground Beef (70/30)3323014.308218
Brisket (Point)35828.523.507228
Chuck Roast35927.326.406831
Ground Beef (75/25)2932515.807723
New York Strip28122.21907129
Ground Beef (80/20)2542017.207129
Skirt Steak

As you can see from the chart above, most of the cuts above fall into the standard keto macros. But don’t let this stop you from enjoying leaner cuts. You can boost your fat intake into ideal keto ratios with just one or two tablespoons of butter, ghee, or beef tallow.

Similarly, if you find a very well-marbled chuck roast, t-bone, or an untrimmed skirt steak, it would likely have above the 70% fat range we are looking for.

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The Best Steak on Keto

Taking into account fat content, nutrient density, and flavor, ribeye steak is often considered the king of steaks and one of the best steaks to consume on a keto diet. 

Ribeye is so abundant in healthy fats, proteins, and essential micronutrients that you can thrive on a diet consisting of only ribeye, salt, and water. In fact, this carnivore elimination diet has a name–Lion Diet

Let’s take a closer look at the nutrient profile of a 1lb ribeye steak that is the centerpiece of many keto or carnivore meals:

NUTRIENT1lbs (16 OZ) 
B1 (THIAMIN) 55%
B3 (NIACIN)102%

Steak on Keto: Nutrient Highlights

In addition to an abundance of fat and protein, steak on keto provides an abundance of vital nutrients. Some of these nutrients are exclusive to meat, while others are found in meat in their most bioavailable forms. 

  • Carnitine: Can significantly improve male fertility. [6] Reduces anemia, especially when co-occurring with kidney dysfunction. [7]   Supports mitochondrial function and insulin sensitivity for people with type 2 diabetes. [8]  Supports heart health [9]
  • Carnosine: Anti-aging. Protects heart and muscles[2][3]. Prevents glycation, damage that occurs when glucose bonds cells and DNA. [4] Offers antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals and protect telomeres [5]
  • Creatine: Improves cognitive function [10]. Enhances athletic performance. [11]  Alzheimer’s patients show low creatine levels[12]. Supports cardiovascular health and glycemic control [13]
  • Taurine: This powerful antioxidant reduces glycation, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Offers anti-depressive effects in animal studies. 
  • Zinc: Supports heart health, plays a key role in insulin formation. Shown to increase glycemic control for diabetics [18] [19]. The zinc in keto steak is 400% more bioavailable than the zinc you get in breakfast cereals [15]. Low levels of zinc are associated with lower sperm count and erectile dysfunction in males [14]
  • Vitamin B12: Exclusively found in animal products. Deficiency in B12 can lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. [21] Has been shown to significantly reduce depressive symptoms. [14]
  • Heme Iron: Provided only by steak and other red meats. Plays a key role in supporting immune function, cognition, and energy metabolism [15]
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Beef Organ Meats on Keto

Though often overlooked in modern Western cultures, organ meats are prized by traditional cultures the world over for their nutritional properties.  

Fortunately, they’re finally making a comeback as part of a nose-to-tail approach to eating. 

Organ meats like beef liver are considered natural multi-vitamins loaded with bioavailable vitamins A, E, K2, D, and C. In fact, beef liver is so high in vitamin A that it needs to be consumed in moderation to avoid vitamin toxicity. 

Other excellent beef organ meats on keto include kidney, pancreas, brain, tongue, tripe, and bone marrow

If, like many people, you find it difficult to source fresh organ meats, or find them intimidating to cook and eat, you can still get their benefits from quality beef organ meat supplements

Here’s a detailed look at the abundance of nutrients found in beef liver: 

Beef Liver
Based on 100 grams
Net Carbs3.9g
Vitamins%Daily Value
Vitamin A   

Vitamin B6  

Vitamin B12  






Vitamin C  

Vitamin D   

Vitamin K  























Iron Magnesium


















Bone Broth on Keto

Though not exactly keto steak, beef bone broth is a mainstay on many keto and carnivore diets. It can be especially helpful for avoiding keto side effects associated with “keto flu” when just starting out on the diet. 

Keto Bone broth is naturally high in electrolytes which can replenish those that are flushed when your body first uses up the glycogen stored in your muscles.  It also provides the amino acid glycine. Glycine helps your body produce the bile needed for breaking down increased dietary fat. This can help aleviate keto constipation. 

Beef Tallow

Beef tallow is rendered beef fat. It’s highly saturated, meaning it is molecularly stable, and not likely to oxidize. 

Beef tallow is a fantastic addition to any keto meal and can be the key to fattening up leaner meats, along with keto vegetables

Grass-Fed Steak on Keto

Though all sources of steak on keto can be beneficial, grass-fed steak offers even greater nutritional benefits. 

Grass-fed beef offers more thiamine (B1) and riboflavin (B2), fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, beta-carotene, and heme iron than beef fed on grains. 

  • Grass-fed beef also offers up to 500% more omega-3 fatty acids [22]. This is important in the context of the standard American diet that features an overabundance of omega-6s
  • Grass-fed beef contains around 200% more CLA than grain-fed beef [23]
  • Grass-fed steak in high in vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects your cell membranes from oxidization [24]. 
  • Grass-fed steak is also higher in various other meat-specific antioxidants [25][26

Is Steak on Keto Healthy? The Science

The keto diet challenges a lot of long-held dietary fallacies. Making steak the centerpiece of your keto diet flies in the face of nutritionists who demonize both saturated fat, and meat in general. 

To set the record straight here is a rundown of the most recent high-quality studies looking at the effects of meat on health: 

  • Fresh meat is indeed healthy for most people. Meat is loaded with bioavailable and meat-specific nutrients, highly satiating, and associated with numerous markers of health, fertility, and longevity  [27][28]. 
  • Total meat consumption correlates to greater life expectancy, independent of the competing effects of total calories consumed, economic status, advantages of living in an urban setting with access to modern healthcare, and obesity [3]
  • When consumed as part of a matrix of whole foods including fresh meat, saturated fat is healthy for most people [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35]
  • Reducing saturating animal fat and substituting in more lean protein may increase the risk of cancer [36
  • Randomized control trials comparing high-meat, low-carb diets to non-meat diets find that high-meat diets offer dramatically better outcomes with regards to cardiovascular health, weight loss, and blood sugar regulation  [37] [38] [39]
  • Consuming more carbohydrate-rich crops (grains and tubers) does not lead to greater life expectancy [40]

Steak on Keto: The Takeaway

Steak is an excellent nutritional foundation for a well-formulated keto diet. Ribeye steak in particular is one of the healthiest foods to eat in the world

Steak is loaded with fat and protein in near-perfect ratios for keto. Additionally, the abundance of essential micronutrients comes in bioavailable forms that make them easy for your body to absorb and utilize. 


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