The Finest Sources of Lean Protein to Lose Fats



For those who’re seeking to lose fats and get lean, getting sufficient protein is vital.


Analysis exhibits that while you need to construct extra muscle and lose fats, aggressively chopping energy or total meals teams out of your weight loss program is a recipe for catastrophe (1). 

First, chopping too many energy is unhealthy and might stall your metabolism. It might additionally result in nutrient deficiencies and muscle mass loss whereas leaving you weak, dizzy, and drained. 

Whereas we might drop a few pounds with them initially, stylish diets that don’t match into our life-style or go away us feeling disadvantaged aren’t sustainable long-term.

What does work? Consuming extra protein.

Moderately than banishing all carbs, research present that shifting your focus to prioritizing consuming extra lean wholesome protein, mixed with a balanced weight loss program and common exercise, is a greater technique for long-term weight reduction (2).

In reality, a significant purpose many people aren’t seeing the size transfer or coaching is that we’re not consuming sufficient protein. It might additionally maintain us from persevering with to construct power whereas coaching.

Mixed with a balanced, nutritious diet and common exercise, that is the way in which to go.

Why Is Protein So Essential for Fats Loss and Weight Administration?

There are two main causes:

1. Protein Boosts Metabolism 

Protein helps us construct muscle. Muscle burns extra energy than fats.

So having extra muscle mass can improve the variety of energy (vitality) you burn even whereas resting, which is called your basal metabolic fee (BMR).

Consuming sufficient protein together with power and resistance coaching might help us construct extra muscle.

How a lot muscle you placed on takes time and is determined by varied elements, together with age, gender, genetics, physique dimension, and composition. 

2. Protein Makes Us Really feel Full

Protein is extra satiating than carbs or fats. 

Once we eat protein, it triggers the physique to cut back the “starvation hormone” ghrelin and as an alternative boosts the degrees of a hormone known as peptide YY that makes you’re feeling full.

So consuming loads of protein can have an effect on the quantity of meals we eat total.

The Digestion Of Protein Additionally Burns Energy

Our physique requires vitality to interrupt down meals into smaller, absorbable molecules our cells can use. 

We all know this course of because the thermic impact of meals.

Right here’s what’s nice about protein:

  • 20-35% of the energy within the protein we eat get burned throughout digestion!

Solely 5-15% of carbohydrate energy get burned throughout digestion, whereas fat are simply 5%.

A selection of lean protein sources on a table including beef, eggs, cottage cheese, legumes, and more with a sign that says "amino acids"

What’s Protein Precisely?

Like fat and carbohydrates, protein is a macronutrient or “macro.” These vitamins our physique makes use of within the biggest quantities.

Once we eat protein, the physique breaks it down into amino acids by means of the method of digestion. ‌

Our cells then use amino acids for quite a lot of completely different necessary features, together with

  • Development and restore of tissues (like muscle)
  • Manufacturing of enzymes and hormones 
  • Manufacturing of blood.
  • Immune perform
  • Help of wholesome hair, nails, and pores and skin.

Whereas there are over 500 amino acids in nature, the tissues of the human physique want solely about 20 to make all of the proteins it requires (3). 

9 of those amino acids are important, which implies the physique can’t make them by itself and we are able to solely get them by means of the meals that we eat. 

Wholesome Truth: Not consuming sufficient protein could cause muscle loss, dry pores and skin, slowed metabolism, hair loss, and brittle nails (4).

What Are the Finest Sources of Protein For Fats Loss and Constructing Muscle?

Protein is extra satiating than fat or carbs. 

Lean sources of protein have a decrease fats and calorie content material and are greatest for fats loss.

For those who’re hungry shortly after consuming, it’s your physique’s method of telling you it wants extra protein (5).

A selection of lean protein sources on a wooden table including salmon, beef, chicken, beans, eggs, legumes, and more.

Listed below are among the greatest sources of protein for weight reduction

1. Meats (per 4-ounce serving)

The actual quantity of protein in a serving of meat can fluctuate relying on elements, equivalent to the particular lower of meat and the way it’s ready. 

These estimates ought to provide you with a good suggestion of the protein content material of a 4-ounce serving of every kind of meat.

  • Turkey Breast = 30 grams of protein.
  • Hen Breast = 28 grams of protein.
  • Lean Beef (filet, sirloin, or tenderloin) = 30-35 grams of protein.
  • Lean Pork (tenderloin or loin) =  22-24 grams of protein.

2. Fish (per 4-ounce serving)

In addition to being an awesome supply of protein, fatty fish like salmon and sardines are additionally wonderful sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked in research to quite a lot of well being advantages (6).

  • Salmon = 25-30 grams of protein.
  • Tuna (canned, in water) = 20-25 grams of protein.
  • Cod = 20-25 grams of protein.
  • Haddock = 20-25 grams of protein.
  • Shrimp = 20-25 grams of protein.
  • Scallops = 20-25 grams of protein.
  • Halibut = 20-25 grams of protein.
  • Sardines (canned, in oil) = 20 grams of protein.

3. Eggs

Incorporating entire eggs or egg whites into your weight loss program could be a good method to improve your protein consumption with out consuming a whole lot of energy

In addition to protein, eggs are additionally a beautiful supply of different vitamins, equivalent to vitamin D, vitamin B12, and choline. 

Some research present that consuming eggs for breakfast might assist promote emotions of fullness and scale back calorie consumption later within the day (7). 

  • 1 Entire Egg, Giant (80 energy) = 6 grams of protein.
  • 1 Egg White, Giant (17 energy)  = 3.6 grams of protein
  • 1 Egg Yolk (63 energy) = 2.4 grams of protein

Eggs are additionally tremendous versatile! 

  • Use entire eggs to make omelets, and scrambled eggs or bake into muffin tins with veggies
  • Eat hard-boiled eggs as a snack, sliced into salads, or on whole-grain bread
  • Add liquid egg whites to smoothies or stir into oatmeal

For those who’re involved in regards to the ldl cholesterol in eggs, it’s necessary to notice that current analysis means that for most individuals, dietary ldl cholesterol doesn’t have a big impression on blood levels of cholesterol or coronary heart well being (8). 

Nevertheless, if in case you have excessive ldl cholesterol or different well being issues, it’s at all times a good suggestion to talk together with your physician or a registered dietitian earlier than altering your weight loss program.

4. Dairy

Dairy is a good supply of protein, and there are numerous low-fat and fat-free choices obtainable that may assist you to meet your protein wants whereas conserving your calorie consumption in verify.

  • Plain Greek Yogurt (¾ cup) = 18-20 grams of protein.

Greek yogurt is a high-protein dairy type of yogurt and can also be a very good supply of calcium and probiotics, which might profit intestine well being.

Select low or full-fat varieties that are extra satiating than fat-free choices.

  • Cottage Cheese (½ cup) = 14-16 grams of protein. 

Cottage cheese can also be a superb supply of calcium and different vitamins like vitamin B12.

  • Kefir (8 ounces) = 8-10 grams of proteins

Kefir is a fermented milk drink just like yogurt however has a thinner consistency. It comprises probiotics, which help intestine well being and immunity.

  • Cheese (1 ounce) = 6-8 grams of protein (on common)

The precise quantity of protein in a serving of cheese can fluctuate relying on the sort and model. Cheese can also be a superb supply of calcium and different vitamins. 

For those who’re engaged on fats loss, eat full-fat cheese moderately because it’s excessive in energy.

  • Whey Protein & Casein Protein (30 grams)  =  20-30 grams per scoop 

Whey and casein are two forms of proteins present in milk you can purchase as dietary supplements to help muscle progress and restoration. Add to smoothies, shakes, eggs, yogurt, and baked items to spice up their protein content material. 

Whey protein is a fast-digesting protein that’s absorbed shortly by the physique, making it perfect for post-workout restoration. 

Casein protein is a slow-digesting protein that’s absorbed extra slowly, offering a sustained launch of amino acids. 

5. Legumes

Legumes, which embody all beans, lentils, and peas, are a superb supply of plant-based protein. They’re additionally excessive in fiber, which might help maintain you feeling full and happy.

  • Beans (½ cup) = 7-10 grams of protein

Beans of all types, together with black beans and kidney beans, are versatile and nutritious! They’re excessive in nutritional vitamins and minerals, like folate, iron, and potassium.

  • Lentils (½ cup) =  8-10 grams of protein

Lentils can be found in many sorts, equivalent to brown, inexperienced, and purple lentils, and are additionally a wholesome supply of iron and different vitamins.

  • Chickpeas (½ cup) = 7-8 grams of protein

Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, are a very good supply of fiber, nutritional vitamins, and minerals, like folate and manganese. Use in dishes like hummus and falafel. 

  • Black-eyed peas (½ cup) = 6-7 grams of protein
  • Peas (½ cup) =  4-5 grams of protein

Peas are a very good supply of fiber, nutritional vitamins, and minerals, like vitamin C and vitamin Okay. Add to soups and stews.

  • Soybeans (1/2 cup) = 15-20 grams of protein
  • Edamame (1/2 cup) = 8-9 grams of protein

6. Extra Plant-Based mostly Choices for Vegetarians and Vegetarians

  • Soy milk (1 cup) = 8 grams of protein per cup
  • Pea Protein Isolate  (1 cup) = 15 and 20 grams of protein

Comprised of yellow peas, this one is a good substitute for dairy-based protein dietary supplements. It’s typically added to non-dairy milk choices to spice up their protein content material.

  • Tofu (3 ounces) =  7-9 grams of protein

Tofu, also called bean curd, is a soy-based product that’s generally used as a meat substitute. It’s a very good supply of calcium and iron.

  • Tempeh (3-ounce) = 11-15 grams of protein

Tempeh is a fermented soy product that has a agency texture and a nutty taste and can also be a very good supply of probiotics.

  • Seitan (3 ounces) =  15-20 grams of protein

Seitan, also called wheat meat, is a high-protein, meat-like meals produced from wheat gluten and is a superb supply of iron and different vitamins.

  • Quinoa (1 cup) = 8 grams of protein

A scrumptious edible seed from South America with a grain-like texture, quinoa is a whole supply of plant protein and folate, magnesium, and fiber.

Nuts and seeds, equivalent to almonds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds, are additionally great sources of protein, fiber, antioxidants, and wholesome fat with round 6-8 grams of protein per 1/4 cup. 

They’re excessive in energy, so if weight reduction or upkeep is your aim, eat them moderately. 

The Advantages and Drawbacks of Completely different Protein Sources

When selecting protein sources, it’s necessary to think about the advantages and downsides of various choices. 

For instance:

  • Plant-based protein sources are sometimes decrease in energy and better in fiber than animal-based choices. Not all plant-based sources present a whole vary of important amino acids. 
  • Animal-based protein sources are sometimes larger in energy and saturated fats, however are additionally sometimes extra full sources of important amino acids. 

It’s necessary to decide on quite a lot of protein sources to make sure that you’re getting a whole vary of vitamins and amino acids.

Suggestions for Incorporating Protein into Your Meals and Snacks

There are lots of simple methods to include protein into your meals and snacks. 

Listed below are some concepts to get you began:

  • Add a scoop of protein powder to your smoothie or oatmeal.
  • Prime your salad with grilled hen or shrimp and a scoop of beans.
  • Snack on a hard-boiled egg or a handful of almonds.
  • Dip uncooked veggies in hummus or Greek yogurt dip
  • Make a batch of hard-boiled eggs at the start of the week for a fast and simple snack.
  • Use legumes in quite a lot of dishes, equivalent to salads, soups, and stews. 

A plate of grilled white fish and vegetables on a plate.

How A lot Protein Do You Want Every Day?

The quantity of protein you want is determined by quite a lot of elements, together with your physique weight, exercise stage, and health objectives (9).  

Some consultants advocate consuming as much as 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound of physique weight per day to help muscle progress and restore.

Nevertheless, when you’re seeking to lose fats and construct lean muscle, chances are you’ll want to extend your protein consumption.

If You’re Sedentary: The beneficial dietary allowance of protein for an grownup is 0.8 grams per kilogram of physique weight. 

1 pound = 2.2 kilograms

Meaning an individual weighing 150 kilos (68 kilograms) ought to eat no less than 55 grams of protein per day.

If You’re Over the Age of 40: To keep away from shedding muscle mass (sarcopenia) your protein wants to extend to about 1–1.2 grams per kilogram. Or 60–80 grams per day for a 150 lb particular person.

If You’re Lively: For those who train frequently, you’ll additionally want about 1.1–1.5 grams of protein per kilogram.

If You Usually Raise Weights or Are in Coaching: Goal for 1.2–1.7 grams of protein per kilogram. 

If You’re Overweight: You might want to modify your weight earlier than calculating your must keep away from overestimating and consuming an excessive amount of protein. Use this online calculator.

Consuming greater than 2 grams of protein per kilogram of physique weight per day has been linked to potential well being dangers, equivalent to kidney harm and dehydration. (10)

Use These On-line Instruments

Use this online calculator to estimate your private each day protein wants.

Or, obtain a food-tracking app like MyFitnessPal or MyPlate to calculate your protein necessities and assist you to maintain observe of your protein and nutrient consumption every day.

You can even see a dietitian that will help you develop a customized plan in your objectives. 


To lose fats or keep a wholesome physique weight, consuming extra lean protein throughout meals and snacks can increase metabolism and maintain us extra satiated, so we eat much less.

The quantity of protein we have to lose fats or keep a wholesome weight varies from individual to individual. Age, weight and exercise ranges are all elements to think about.

Seek the advice of together with your physician, healthcare supplier, or nutritionist about how a lot protein you have to be consuming.