22 Best Proteins for Rapid Weight Loss
These proteins will help you slim down while preserving lean muscle.
Hey it's Dean your Wellness Coach.
You already know that eating protein is key when it comes to feeling satisfied with your meals and maintaining a weight loss effort. It's a proven fact that protein helps build fat-burning lean muscle mass.
There's a lot of great protein sources, however here's a list of the best-ever proteins for weight loss across every food category. Whether you’re a fan of fish, love the meat, still drink dairy, or stick to a meat-free meal plan, we’ve got the best options for your waistline.
1 cup, 41 calories, 5 grams of protein
One of my favorite veggie is a great source of protein, plus it has vitamins A and C, antioxidants and heart-healthy folate. One cup of this green super-food has nearly as much protein as a hard-boiled egg - and offers half the calories.
You can add a handful to salads, soups, omelets, and veggie stir-fries, or simply steam it and top with pepper, garlic, olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. - Enjoy
1 cup, 118 calories, 8g protein
A cup of green peas contains more protein then a cup of spinach. And with almost 100 percent of your daily value of vitamin C in a single cup, they’ll help keep your immune system strong. Eat them as a side dish, place on salad, or add them to an omelet to boost eggs’ satiating power.
Red Meat Proteins
4 oz strip steak, 133 calories, 26 grams of protein
8 oz strip steak, 266 calories, 52 grams of protein
When it comes to steak or burgers, go grass-fed. Grass-fed beef is naturally leaner and has fewer calories than conventional meat: Grass-fed meat contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, according to a study published in Nutrition Journal, which have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. (yes, good fat helps your heart!)
Keep it heart healthy by eating more of these foods that decrease your heart disease risk.
4 oz, 166 calories, 23 g of protein
While grass-fed beef is an excellent choice, bison is gaining popularity, and for good reason: It has half the fat, and fewer calories than red meat. Eating this lean, clean meat will earn you two healthy bonuses: In just one serving you’ll get a full day’s allowance of vitamin B-12, which has been shown to boost energy and help shut down the genes responsible for insulin resistance and the formation of fat cells; additionally, since bison are naturally grass-fed, you can confidently eat your burger knowing it’s free of the hormones and pollutants than can manifest themselves in your belly fat.
4 oz, 124 calories, 24 g protein
A longtime enemy of doctors and dieters, pork has been emerging as a healthier alternative of late - as long as you choose the right cut. Your best bet is pork tenderloin: Pork offers 24 grams of protein per serving, and 83 milligrams of waist-trimming choline. In a study published in the journal Nutrients, scientists asked 144 overweight people to eat a diet rich in fresh lean pork. After three months, the group saw a significant reduction in waist size, BMI and belly fat, with no reduction in muscle mass! They speculate that the amino acid profile of pork protein may contribute to greater fat burning.
3 oz, 77 calories, 16 g protein
6 oz, 154 calories, 32 g protein
You already knew fish was rich in protein but you might be surprised to learn that halibut tops fiber-rich oatmeal and vegetables in the satiety department. An Australian study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, compared the satiety of different animal proteins found a nutritionally similar white fish (flake) to be significantly more satiating than beef and chicken; satiety following the white fish meal also declined at a much slower rate. Study authors attribute the filling factor of white fish like halibut to its impressive protein content and influence on serotonin, one of the key hormones responsible for appetite signals.
7) Wild Salmon
3 oz, 120 calories, 17 g protein
6 oz, 240 calories, 34 g protein
Don’t let salmon’s high calorie and fat content fool you; studies suggest the oily fish may be one of the best for weight loss. A study in the International Journal of Obesity found that eating three 5-ounce servings of salmon per week for four weeks as part of a low-calorie diet resulted in approximately 2.2 pounds more weight lost than following an equip-calorie diet that didn’t include fish. Wild salmon is leaner than farmed, which is plumped up on fishmeal. Also, farm raised salmon has been proven to be significantly higher in cancer-linked PCBs. So go wild - literally. This is a protein-rich fish you don’t want to miss!
8) Light Canned Tuna
3 oz, 73 calories, 16 g protein
Tuna or to-not? That is the question. As a primo source of protein and DHA, canned light tuna is one of the best and most affordable fish for weight loss, especially from your belly! - But what about the mercury? Mercury levels in tuna vary by species; generally speaking, the larger and leaner the fish, the higher the mercury level. Bluefin and albacore rank among the most toxic, according to a study in Biology Letters. But canned chunk light tuna, harvested from the smallest fish, is considered a “low mercury fish” and can - and could - be enjoyed two to three times a week (or up to 12 ounces), according to the FDA’s most recent guidelines.
9) Pacific Cod
3 oz, 70 calories, 15 g protein
Research suggests a regular serving of Pacific cod, may keep you lean. One study in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases found that eating up to five servings of cod per week as part of a low-calorie diet for eight weeks resulted in an extra 3.8 pounds of weight loss compared to a diet with the same amount of calories but no fish.
Quarter-pound turkey burger, 140 calories, 16 g protein
Lean and protein-rich, turkey is a must for healthy, lean living. A quarter-pound turkey burger patty contains 140 calories, 16 grams of protein and eight grams of fat. Additionally, turkey is rich in DHA omega-3 acids—18 mg per serving, the highest on this list - which has been shown to boost brain function, improve your mood and turn off fat genes, preventing fat cells from growing in size.
3 oz. cooked breast, 140 calories, 26 g protein
6 oz. cooked breast, 280 calories, 52 g protei
A 3 oz. cooked chicken breast contains only 142 calories and 3 grams of fat, but packs a whopping 26 grams of protein.
1 egg, 80 calories, 7 g protein
3 egg, 240 calories, 21 g protein
Eggs might just be the easiest, cheapest and most versatile way to up your protein intake. Beyond easily upping your daily protein count, each 80-calorie eggs packs a solid 7 grams of the muscle-builder! Eggs also boost your health: They’re loaded with amino acids, antioxidants, and iron. Don’t just reach for the whites, though; the yolks boast a fat-fighting nutrient called choline, so opting for whole eggs can actually help you trim down. When you’re shopping for eggs, pay attention to the labels. You should be buying organic, when possible. These are certified by the USDA and are free from antibiotics, vaccines, and hormones.
1/2 cup, 109-148 calories, 7-10 grams of protein
Beans are good for more than just your heart. They’re loaded with proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that can benefit your brain and muscles, too. Not to mention, they digest very slowly, which can help you feel fuller, longer, and fuel weight loss efforts without causing feelings of deprivation. Look for easy-to-use, pre-cooked BPA-free varieties that come in a pouch or a box. Add them to soups and salads or mix them with brown rice and steamed vegetables to create a hearty and healthy dinner.
1 cup, 230 calories, 18 g protein
One cup of lentils has the protein of three eggs, with less than one gram of fat! Their high fiber content makes them extremely satiating, and studies have shown that they speed fat loss: Researchers found that people whose diets included four weekly servings of legumes lost more weight and improved their cholesterol more than people who didn’t. Eat them on their own as a side or simmer them into a soup.
15) Peanut Butter
2 tablespoons, 191 calories, 7 grams of protein
Be careful: This creamy spread is downright addictive. While eating too much peanut butter can wreak havoc on your waistline, a standard two-tablespoon serving provides a solid dose of muscle-building protein and healthy fats. According to a 2014 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consuming peanuts can prevent both cardiovascular and coronary artery disease - the most common type of heart condition. Look for the unsalted, no sugar added varieties without hydrogenated oils to reap the most benefits. Try stirring the spread into hot oatmeal, smearing it on fresh produce, or blending it into your post-workout smoothie. Just don't eat too much.
(Please note: If you do eat grain products, do it sparingly)
Two slices, 138-220 calories, 8-12 g protein
Not all breads are carb grenades destroying your weight loss goals. This nutrient-dense bread is loaded with folate-filled lentils, protein and good-for-you grains and seeds like barley and millet. To boost the flavor of your slices, make a veggie sandwich overflowing with wholesome nutrients. On two slices of sprouted whole-grain bread combine tahini-free hummus, avocado slices, roasted red peppers, cucumbers, onions, spinach and tomatoes, one of the healthiest foods on the planet.
(Please note: I always recommend almond milk and coconut milk, yet If you do drink or eat dairy products, do it sparingly)
7 oz, 150 calories, 20 g protein
A study printed in the Journal of Nutrition found that probiotics like the ones found in creamy, delicious yogurt helped obese women lose nearly twice the weight compared to those who did not consume probiotics. Both sets of subjects were on low-calorie diets, but after 12 weeks, the probiotic subjects lost an average of 9.7 pounds, while those on placebos lost only 5.7. Bonus: the subjects who were given the good bacteria continued to lose weight even after an additional 12 weeks, an average of 11.5 pounds to be accurate! The good bacteria in probiotics can help ramp up your metabolism and improve your immune system, but it pays to be picky about your sources. Yogurt’s a great way to get a.m. protein and probiotics, but to get the healthiest yogurt you’ll have to read labels; most are packed with added sugars that exceed their protein levels. Eat plain Greek Yogurt and add 1/4 cup blueberries.
18) Organic, Grass-Fed Milk
8 oz, 110 calories, 8 g protein
Organically raised cows are not subject to the same hormones and antibiotics that usual cows are; no antibiotics for them means no antibiotics for you. Grass fed cows have been shown to have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids (good) and two to five times more CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) than their corn and grain fed counterparts. CLA contains a group of chemicals which provides a wide variety of health benefits, including immune and inflammatory system support, improved bone mass, improved blood sugar regulation, reduced body fat, reduced risk of heart attack, and maintenance of lean body mass.
Nuts & Seed Proteins
1 oz, 138 calories, 5 g protein
One of the hallmarks of a balanced diet is to have a good ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3s. A 4:1 ratio would be ideal, but the modern American diet is more like 20:1. That leads to inflammation, which can trigger weight gain. But while eating a serving of salmon every day isn’t practical, sprinkling chia seeds - among the most highly concentrated sources of omega-3s in the food world - into smoothies, salads, oat meal or even desserts is as easy a diet upgrade as you can get.
20) Shelled Pumpkin Seeds
1 oz, 158 calories, 9 g protein
A handful of raw or dry roasted pumpkin seeds can give you a natural jolt to power through a workout. They’re a good source of protein, healthy fats, and fiber, keeping you feeling full and energized longer, and contain manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, which provide additional energy support to maximize gym time. Throw them into salads and rice dishes or eat them raw.
1 oz, 164 calories, 6 g protein
Think of each almond as a natural weight-loss pill. Combined with a calorie-restricted diet, consuming a little more than a quarter-cup of the nuts can decrease weight more after just two weeks! (And in this study of overweight and obese patients, after 24 weeks, those who ate the nuts experienced a 62 percent greater reduction in weight and BMI!) For optimal results, eat your daily serving before you hit the gym. Almonds, rich in the amino acid L-arginine, can actually help you burn more fat and carbs during workouts, a study printed in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found.
Protein Payout: 1 oz, 157 calories, 5 g protein
Cashews are a good source of protein, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and copper, and shouldn’t be overlooked as one of your go-to nuts. Magnesium boasts a myriad of health benefits such as helping your body relieve various conditions like constipation, insomnia, headaches and muscle cramps, as well as regulating the immune system and supporting brain function. They also contain a good amount of biotin, which will help keep your locks shiny and lustrous.
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