The Finest Sources of Lean Protein to Lose Fats



In case you’re seeking to lose fats and get lean, getting sufficient protein is essential.


Analysis exhibits that once you wish to construct extra muscle and lose fats, aggressively slicing energy or whole meals teams out of your weight loss plan is a recipe for catastrophe (1). 

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

Whereas we might drop pounds with them initially, fashionable 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.

Quite than banishing all carbs, research present that shifting your focus to prioritizing consuming extra lean wholesome protein, mixed with a balanced weight loss plan 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 will possibly additionally preserve us from persevering with to construct energy 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 enhance the variety of energy (vitality) you burn even whereas resting, which is called your basal metabolic price (BMR).

Consuming sufficient protein together with energy and resistance coaching will help us construct extra muscle.

How a lot muscle you placed on takes time and relies on varied elements, together with age, gender, genetics, physique measurement, and composition. 

2. Protein Makes Us Really feel Full

Protein is extra satiating than carbs or fats. 

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

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

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.

After we eat protein, the physique breaks it down into amino acids via the method of digestion. ‌

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

  • Progress and restore of tissues (like muscle)
  • Manufacturing of enzymes and hormones 
  • Manufacturing of blood.
  • Immune operate
  • 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 suggests the physique can’t make them by itself and we will solely get them via the meals that we eat. 

Wholesome Reality: 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 finest for fats loss.

In case you’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 here are a few of the finest sources of protein for weight reduction

1. Meats (per 4-ounce serving)

The precise quantity of protein in a serving of meat can range relying on elements, similar to the particular minimize of meat and the way it’s ready. 

These estimates ought to offer you a good suggestion of the protein content material of a 4-ounce serving of every sort 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 excellent 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 complete eggs or egg whites into your weight loss plan is usually a good strategy to enhance your protein consumption with out consuming numerous energy

In addition to protein, eggs are additionally a beautiful supply of different vitamins, similar 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 Complete 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 complete 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

In case you’re involved concerning 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 major influence on blood levels of cholesterol or coronary heart well being (8). 

Nonetheless, 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 plan.

4. Dairy

Dairy is a superb supply of protein, and there are a lot of low-fat and fat-free choices accessible that may assist you to meet your protein wants whereas protecting 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 supply of calcium and probiotics, which may 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 wonderful supply of calcium and different vitamins like vitamin B12.

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

Kefir is a fermented milk drink much like yogurt however has a thinner consistency. It incorporates probiotics, which assist 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 range relying on the sort and model. Cheese can also be a wonderful supply of calcium and different vitamins. 

In case you’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 could purchase as dietary supplements to assist muscle development 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 rapidly 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 embrace all beans, lentils, and peas, are a wonderful supply of plant-based protein. They’re additionally excessive in fiber, which will help preserve 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, similar 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 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 supply of fiber, nutritional vitamins, and minerals, like vitamin C and vitamin Ok. 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

Constructed from yellow peas, this one is a superb substitute for dairy-based protein dietary supplements. It’s usually 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 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 supply of probiotics.

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

Seitan, also called wheat meat, is a high-protein, meat-like meals created 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, similar 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 purpose, eat them moderately. 

The Advantages and Drawbacks of Totally different Protein Sources

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

For instance:

  • Plant-based protein sources are usually 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 greater in energy and saturated fats, however are additionally usually 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.

Ideas for Incorporating Protein into Your Meals and Snacks

There are various straightforward methods to include protein into your meals and snacks. 

Listed here are some concepts to get you began:

  • Add a scoop of protein powder to your smoothie or oatmeal.
  • High your salad with grilled rooster 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 initially of the week for a fast and simple snack.
  • Use legumes in quite a lot of dishes, similar 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 relies on quite a lot of elements, together with your physique weight, exercise degree, and health targets (9).  

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

Nonetheless, should you’re seeking to lose fats and construct lean muscle, you might want to extend your protein consumption.

If You’re Sedentary: The really useful 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 dropping 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 Energetic: In case you 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: Purpose for 1.2–1.7 grams of protein per kilogram. 

If You’re Overweight: It is advisable to regulate 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, similar to kidney injury and dehydration. (10)

Use These On-line Instruments

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

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

You may also see a dietitian that will help you develop a personalised plan on your targets. 


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

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

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