More people are struggling with their weight than ever before and the vast majority are losing the battle.
- Moderate to high protein diets are often recommended for fat loss, for several reasons.
- Protein is satiating, therefore it keeps you feeling full.
- Protein makes your body work harder to digest it than carbohydrates and fat.
- Protein helps you hang on to lean mass (aka muscle) while losing body fat.
- Protein is constantly being used, excreted and recycled, so we need to replenish it often.
But just any meat won’t cut it. In order to achieve both a high protein diet while keeping overall calories and fat relatively low, leaner meats are best. Think chicken breast, tuna, and shrimp. Proteins that should be avoided or consumed less are things like linguisa, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets. Not only are they MORE processed, they also have lots of fat either within the meat or because they’re cooked in a fryer.
There’s a reason bodybuilders have a reputation for eating so much chicken breast. It’s the leanest meat, while packing a whopping 30 grams of protein into a four ounce serving. On the other end of the spectrum, a polish dog from Costco has just 17 grams of protein, plus it’s more than double the calories as the chicken and 15 times the amount of fat. Yikes!
Other lean meats include tuna, shrimp, turkey, wild game and certain cuts of pork and beef.
Just for fun, let’s compare four ounces of shrimp to four ounces of bacon. The shrimp is 80 calories, 15 grams of protein and one gram of fat. The bacon is nearly 600 calories, 37 grams of protein, and 43 grams of fat. You can see how if your goal is to limit overall calories while keeping protein high, some foods work better than others.
The takeaway is that all meat is not created equal. Not to say there isn’t a time and place for it all, but more of the better choices and less of the not as great choices is ideal. A variety of protein sources is also recommended, from meats to plants.
For AgNet West’s Health Bite, I’m Rachel Eslick. I can help you reach your health and fitness goals with 1:1 and group training. Visit www.reachfit.net.