Is venison (deer meat) good for muscle building?

Nutrition is important during body building because body types and weight differ across individuals. But one thing is sure; macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins and fat are needed to gain muscle mass.

Eating venison instead of the standard bodybuilding diet is a great way to change up your diet. One of the reasons being that it is a really lean source of natural protein. However, many of us may not like the gamey taste of deer meat as it is not something that we would normally eat

Is venison good for you?

Venison is deer meat which is from the muscles of deer. Venison has a number of health benefits, which make it great for consumption. One major advantage of venison is that it is highly organic unlike other types of red meat that usually contain varying amounts of growth hormones. Venison has one of the highest food sources of Coenzyme Q10 (also known as CoQ10), a nutrient produced in the body that helps prevent cell damage due to the presence of free radicals. Apart from being an antioxidant, CoQ10 also helps reduce blood pressure and in treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Venison provides you with an adequate amount of calories and nutrients. For example, venison has only 10% less calories than chicken breast (which is a great source of lean protein for bodybuilding) and 20% more protein compared to beef. The amount of saturated fat in venison is 40% lower than in red meat (beef). This makes it a much healthier option for consumption compared to other types of red meat, especially beef. Deer meat also contains vitamins B6, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin, even far more than you can find in beef.

Venison is also rich in L-Carnosine, a powerful antioxidant that fights against free radicals in the body which causes death and aging of certain cells in the body. L-Carnosine is an important unit in protein synthesis that ensures that certain organs in the body function optimally. L-Carnosine also helps in the growth and maintenance of muscles.

Is venison a good protein source?

The answer to this question is an emphatic Yes. Venison is not just a source of protein, but a very good source of lean protein. Lean proteins are proteins with a high protein to fat ratio. They supply the body with the building blocks of proteins (amino acids) that the body cannot synthesize on its own. The protein to fat ratio of venison is as high as 9:1, which is the same ratio in boneless, skinless chicken (chicken breast).

The amount of protein in 85g (3 ounces) is as high as 23g, making it a very good source of protein. Having low amounts of protein in the body can slow down certain physiological functions, as well as affect your mood. Protein deficiency also causes muscular degeneration, stunted growth and liver diseases in extreme cases.

Apart from being rich in protein, venison contains L-glutamine. Studies show that L-glutamine is an amino acid that helps muscle recovery and reduces soreness, especially after intense exercise. Venison is also considered to be quite sustainable, as a high population of deer can cause damage to the environment. Therefore, consuming venison is considered a good way to sustain the ecosystem and give yourself the adequate amount of high-quality protein that is needed.

Is there fat in venison?

I am sure that this is not the first time you are hearing that certain types of fat are bad for your body while some other types are encouraged. Fats provide your body with energy, support growth of cells and protect your organs from trauma. Unhealthy fat, however, can block and damage major blood vessels and cause heart diseases.

Saturated fats are unhealthy for the body as they contain a high ratio of fatty acids which are not easily broken down by the body when consumed in high amounts.

Unsaturated fats, on the other hand, contain adequate amounts of fatty acids that can easily be digested by the body.

Red meat is a primary source of saturated fat, which is why it is advised that they are consumed in low to moderate amounts. However, venison is a great kind of red meat because it contains very low amounts of saturated fat compared to beef.

In fact, the amount of saturated fat in venison is lower than certain kinds of fish e.g. salmon. Venison has 50% less fat than beef, and rightly compensates for this by being high in protein. An 85g serving of venison contains 3g of fat, of which only 1.2g is the saturated kind. This small amount of fat in venison makes it toughen very easily, but this happens only when it is overcooked.

Is venison better than chicken?

Chicken, especially the boneless and skinless type is an excellent source of lean protein, i.e., proteins of high quality and low fat.

There are certain advantages of venison over chicken. For instance, Venison has a better flavor than chicken, as you do not need lots of seasoning to improve the flavor of venison compared to chicken (That is if you like gamey type of meats). In the category of meat, venison has the highest protein-cholesterol ratio compared to others. In fact, venison has less cholesterol and calories than chicken.

When it comes to other dietary functions, foods that are rich in protein helps in weight loss. Studies have shown that apart from boosting metabolism, consuming foods that are high in protein (e.g. venison) will make you feel full for a longer time, making you consume less calories than you would usually take in a day. Protein also helps to maintain weight loss as it controls the production of hormones that help regulate weight. It does this by reducing the production of ghrelin, which is the hormone that makes you feel hungry; and increases the production of hormones that reduce your appetite e.g. Cholecystokinin.

Another reason why venison is a better choice is that Venison is almost always organic and free-range compared to chicken. Venison also contains high amounts of iron, vitamins (especially vitamin B12), zinc, linoleic acid, potassium, etc. These minerals help in the breakdown of food for fuels, ensure that your heart remains healthy, and improves brain function as well as the nervous system.

Is venison better than beef?

Beef has been the major option of red meat for decades, but that is slowly changing especially in recent years due to a number of factors, including the rising popularity of healthier options like venison.

First, venison has less fat and less calories than beef. A 3-ounce serving of venison contains 3g of total fat, of which only 1g is saturated fat; whereas the same amount of beef contains 15g of total fat, of which 6g are saturated in nature. Venison has less calories than beef when served in same quantity. It also contains more protein than beef, almost 20% higher.

Beef contains less cholesterol than venison, on the other hand. But the fat in venison is healthier and breaks down faster than in beef. Venison is richer in minerals and vitamins compared to beef. Venison also has large amounts of Iron, Vitamin B6, riboflavin, niacin, and so on. When it comes to taste, many people prefer venison to beef even though beef is more tender and succulent.

Lastly, compared to cattle, a larger population of deer are free range. This means they are allowed to live and grow under natural processes, without the use of growth hormone which many cattle breeders use to improve the quality of their animals. This makes venison a much safer and less expensive option of meat compared to beef.

Is venison expensive?

This is probably the most important factor apart from the nutritional benefits of venison. This is because when you are bodybuilding, you have to be on a constant diet for some time. It is, therefore, advisable to look for cost-effective sources of nutrition. Well, venison provides you with both nutritional and cost-effective advantages. Compared to beef, venison is much cheaper, as the price of beef continues to rise every year. This could be due to a number of reasons, which include cost of grazing, life cycle, demand, etc.

Generally, venison is more expensive than chicken as chickens have a faster life cycle and a lower cost of production. But venison is tastier and more versatile than chicken as it can be used with a number of foods. If you are averted to red meat, however, you may have to go with chicken. But venison is one of the cheapest options of red meat that you can find.


In conclusion, if you decide to bulk up and build muscles; including venison into your diet is a smart and highly nutritious choice. It is cheaper than beef, and is as nutritious (if not more) than chicken. You can explore the flavor of venison in different recipes as well, so you don’t have to compromise taste for nutrition.

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