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Ask Tufts Experts February 2009 Issue

Q: I enjoy eating buffalo meat when I am able to buy it from local farmers. It’s very lean, but is it more healthful than regular beef in other ways?

Answer :  Buffalo (bison) meat is indeed much naturally lower in fat than beef from cattle. Its proportion of saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat is very similar to that of beef, so the fact that bison has only one-quarter to one-fifth the overall fat means you’re getting that much less saturated fat per serving. Since fat is a dense source of calories, bison meat generally has only about two-thirds the calories of the same quantity of beef. Bison is also slightly lower per serving in dietary cholesterol than beef and higher in iron and vitamin B12.

Because of its lower fat content, bison shrinks less and cooks a little faster than beef. That can also make it tough when cooked beyond medium or when cooked at high temperatures; some buffalo-meat purveyors recommend slow roasting at no more than 275 degrees. Such low temperatures can be a food-safety issue, so be sure to freeze raw buffalo meat or keep it refrigerated at 40 degrees.

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