It’s almost impossible to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way without focusing on getting enough protein in your daily diet. For a, protein helps you feel fuller for longer periods of time and lowers your hunger hormones. Protein also has a higher TEF (thermic effect of food) than fat or carbs, which means your body burns more calories when you eat it. And on top of that, protein can help you build muscle mass.
Even though eat enough protein is crucial for healthy weight loss, the quality of your protein also matters a lot, especially since there are so many poor quality, nutrient-poor proteins out there.
Read on to learn more about the best and worst proteins for weight loss, and for healthier weight loss tips, be sure to check it out. Our dietitians swear by these weight loss tips.
If you’re a seafood fan, you might want to consider adding more fatty fish like salmon to your weight loss plan.
“A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help promote satiety in some populations, and salmon is one of the best sources of this healthy fat,” says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDNauthor of First Time Mom Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility. “The data show that the inclusion of fish, such as salmon, as part of a low-calorie diet resulted in weight loss after 4 weeks compared to a similar diet without seafood, highlighting that the addition of fruit seafood on a nutritionally balanced low-calorie diet can boost weight loss.”
Try cooking this Sweet & Spicy Glazed Salmon with Roasted Vegetables for a healthy, high-protein dinner.
If you are looking for a healthy protein powder to throw in a delicious shake, you might want to try whey protein.
“Whey protein can quickly increase satiety because it contains all the essential amino acids and is quickly absorbed by the body,” says Courtney D’Angelo, MS, RDauthor to go wellness. “Many studies have been conducted on whey protein and weight loss, with most studies concluding that whey protein reduces fat and increases lean muscle mass. Whey protein has also been found to help you to stay full longer and reduce cravings throughout the day.”
The main difference between whey protein and many other types of protein powder is that whey protein contains dairy. You can therefore try a herbal powder if you do not consume dairy products.
Because Lenses are technically grain legumes (also called legumes), people may not consider them a high-protein food. But lentils are a good source of protein and other useful vitamins and nutrients.
“Eating lentils can give the body fiber, antioxidants and important micronutrients, and data shows that eating lentils can help people lose weight, even when dieting is not calorie restricted“, Manaker says. “Replacing lentils with fatty meat choices may be an accessible way to promote weight loss.”
Another popular type of protein powder is casein protein, which D’Angelo says is also great for helping you reach your weight loss goals.
“Casein protein is very similar to whey protein in that it is also milk-based and contains all of the essential amino acids, but the main difference is that casein protein is slowly absorbed into the body,” explains D’Angelo. “This means you’ll feel full longer than whey protein, and while casein protein isn’t as good at building muscle mass, it’s more effective than many other protein sources.”
“Increased daily nut consumption is associated with less long-term weight gain and a lower risk of obesity in adults, so replace 0.5 serving per day less healthy foods with nuts can help prevent long-term weight gain and obesity,” Manaker says.
When it comes to nuts, walnuts are recognized as some of the best for aiding weight loss efforts. “Nut consumption has been linked to increased satietywhich can help people lose weight in the long term,” says Manaker, “and walnuts are the only nuts that are an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the essential fatty acid omega-3 d plant origin.
You might not think cottage cheese is a high protein food, but choosing the right type of cottage cheese can give you a huge boost of protein with very little fat and sugar.
In a standard cup of 2% cottage cheese, you will overcome 24 grams of protein, with 5 grams of fat and 9 grams of sugar from lactose. If you want to add natural flavors to it, you can add your favorite fruit or a drizzle of honey.
The Worst Proteins for Weight Loss
Although protein foods can promote weight loss, some are better than others. The following protein foods may not be the best foods to add to your diet if you’re looking to get healthier and lose weight.
“Many varieties of sausage can be loaded with saturated fat and can be high in calories, factors that don’t help in the weight loss department,” says Manaker. In fact, “data also shows that consumption of ultra-processed foods, such as many sausages, is related to weight gain.”
If you are looking for a healthier alternative to red meat sausage, you can try a chicken or turkey sausage, or a plant-based sausage option. However, it’s still important to look at the nutrition label because even these products can be loaded with sodium, fat, and weird preservatives.
Just because something is labeled as a protein bar doesn’t mean it’s a nutritious choice. Many popular protein bars on the market are just filled with added sugar, sodium and fat. So yes, you get a protein boost, but there are healthier protein options to snack on.
For example, a PowerBar Protein Plus Chocolate Brownie Bar contains 9 grams of fat, 330 calories and 21 grams of sugar! So you’ll get 30 grams of protein with this bar, but at what cost?
One of the lesser known varieties of protein powder is rice protein. While some people on a plant-based diet may opt for this one, D’Angelo argues that it may not give you the best weight loss results.
“Rice protein may not be the best for weight loss as this vegetable protein is considered incomplete due to its low essential amino acid levels. lysinesays D’Angelo, “and most rice protein studies have seen little to no difference in muscle mass and very little to no weight loss results.”