The Best Proteins for Weight Loss Ranked

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Men should get around 56 grams of protein per day, according to the USDA. To meet this standard while also attempting to lose weight, you should know what protein is best.

6: Protein Powder Grams of Protein: more or less 27 grams per serving (varies, but is measured in scoops)

Yes, this is the most common choice among bodybuilders and gym rats. You’ll see lots of guys with a protein shake in a blender bottle. Although popular for muscle building, is this the best option for weight loss? The answer is no.

Not all protein powders are created equal. When it comes to losing weight, you want to avoid processed foods, and some of these powders contain processed ingredients. A red flag is if you can’t identify an ingredient on the nutrition label. In fact, some protein powders are made with artificial sweeteners.

Even with tempting flavors like chocolate and birthday cake, protein powders may not taste good. Some may be too chalky, too dry, or too dense. Not all powders are vegan either. Besides, most people would prefer a meal over a shake.

However, this isn’t meant to bash protein powder entirely. Some men swear by it. If you want to lose weight while building muscle, protein powder may be right for you. If you’re in a time crunch, a protein shake is a fast way to replenish your body.

5: Red Meat Grams of Protein: 35 grams per serving (4 oz.)

Conventional red meat consists of mainly lamb, beef, and pork. These meats contains lots of vitamins and minerals, most notably vitamin B6, iron, and zinc. Some studies suggest a connection between diabetes and heart disease and red meat consumption. Although other studies argue these risks only apply to processed meat, not unprocessed red meat.

Due to its fat content, red meat is not the best choice for weight loss. Avoid processed meats such as sausage and bacon, which are the highest in sodium and fat. However, if you can’t live without steak, choose a lean cuts.

According to Livestrong, a medium fat cut of steak has around 230 calories whereas a lean cut has only 160 calories. A 3.5 oz. serving of 75% lean ground beef has 274 calories whereas 95% lean ground sirloin has roughly 170 calories. Pork belly contains 229 calories for a serving of 100 grams, but lean cuts can have 105-140 calories, like pork chops and pork cutlets.

While there are better options for weight loss, red meat is still okay as long as it’s lean. Choosing leaner cuts of red meat not only reduces the fat content, but also the calorie content. Like anything, red meat is best in moderation.

4: Poultry Grams of Protein: 35 grams per serving (4 oz.)

Poultry makes the middle of this list. Why? While poultry is considered lean meat, you need to be a bit selective to make this work for weight loss.

Choose white meat over dark meat. For instance, eat chicken or turkey breast as oppose to thighs. Because dark meat is higher in fat, white meat is the leaner of the two.

Be careful with how you prepare poultry too. Grilling, baking, and broiling are the best for weight loss because there is no added fat or calories. On the other hand, the breading and oil in fried chicken and chicken tenders contribute to weight gain.

Chicken and turkey are the lowest calorie options for poultry. While goose contains 227 calories per 100 g serving, and duck has 192 calories, turkey has 122 calories, and 3 oz. of chicken breast has around 110 calories.

3: Beans Grams of Protein: 15 grams per serving (1 cup)

While beans are often a side-dish or tossed in soup, beans are a good source of protein. In fact, the USDA classifies beans as both a vegetable and a protein. On average, one cup of beans provides 15 grams of protein, but the best are soybeans. Cooked soybeans have 28 grams of protein, which is around the same amount you’ll find in a 3 oz serving of meat.

The fiber in beans is ideal for weight loss because it helps keep you full. Other health benefits from eating beans are lowering the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This is because the fiber helps lower bad cholesterol and balance blood sugar. Specific minerals in beans include iron, magnesium, and potassium, which are essential for your body.

If anything, the one drawback is the caloric content, but half a serving of canned beans is anywhere from 110 to 120 calories. Just watch out for the sodium content in canned beans. When assessing the benefits, however, beans are great for weight loss. Some studies have shown that vegetarian and vegan diets may be beneficial for shedding pounds.

2: Eggs Grams of Protein: 6 g per egg

Eggs are one of the most complete foods in existence. Although six grams seems like nothing, most omelets consist of three eggs, so realistically, you’ll be consuming a whopping 18 grams of protein! They also help provide vitamin A, E, and K, along with a range of B vitamins like B12. Plus eggs contain all eight essential amino acids that aid in muscle recovery.

While one egg yolk contain 5 grams of fat, only a small portion, less than 2 grams, is the “bad” fat. If you’re truly concerned, you can opt for the egg whites. Also, eggs don’t contain enough dietary cholesterol to raise our body’s levels of cholesterol. By now, the fear of cholesterol from eggs is a myth. Eggs can be part of a vegetarian diet, and also if your body doesn’t process meats well. They are also versatile. Eating eggs for breakfast keeps you full until lunch, which will reduce your overall calorie intake for the day (one egg is only 70 calories anyway). Combined with all these benefits, the easy digestion and quick absorption of eggs make them an awesome option for weight loss.

1: Fish Grams of Protein: 39 grams per serving (0.5 fillet)

At the top of this list, the number one source of protein for weight loss is — fish! Half a fillet of Atlantic salmon boasts 39 grams of protein. Fish such as salmon and mackerel possess heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids that can greatly improve cardiovascular health. Oily fish is a great source for vitamins A and D, and white fish a great source of B vitamins; seafood in general is a fantastic source of minerals like potassium, selenium, zinc and iodine.

Choosing the right fish are important too — salmon, cod, halibut, and canned tuna are among the options recommended for weight loss. Again, cook your fish wisely, and stay away from frying or breading. If you’re concerned about the “fishy” taste, try whitefish, which is mild and tastes a bit like chicken.

A study done by the International Journal of Obesity showed overweight men who ate 5 oz. of salmon or cod three times a week for eight weeks lost roughly 2 more pounds than the control group. Fish is an essential part of the Mediterranean Diet, an anti-inflammatory diet based on the eating habits of Southern Italy and Greece, which can assist in weight loss.

Navigating the nutritional world for weight loss can be hard, especially when it comes to a macronutrient like protein, where there are so many different options. While all sources of protein have their benefits, fish is the overall number one choice for protein in your weight loss journey.