Top 5 protein sources for weight loss

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Top 5 Protein Sources for Weight Loss

When I hear “protein”, a huge bodybuilder with a giant jar of whey protein alongside pops up in my head. That’s because the fitness industry has been very effective at marketing by-products as something healthy and necessary for muscle building.

Whey protein is a mixture of globular proteins isolated from whey, the liquid material created as a by-product of cheese production. [1]

While it’s true that protein is required for muscle growth, recovery and many other things. I firmly believe that getting your protein from natural sources is best. A lot of protein powders are way too overhyped and overpriced anyway, so why waste your money?

Generally, it is recommended to consume around 0.83 g per kg of body weight per day. But I highly recommend consuming around 1 g per kg of body weight, especially if you’re exercising. Whenever, I don’t eat enough protein, my muscle recovery is noticeably slower.

The PRI (population reference intake) for adults of all ages was estimated to be 0.83 g protein/kg body weight per day and is applicable both to high quality protein and to protein in mixed diets. [2]

With all of that out of the way, here are my top 5 protein sources that are available everywhere, don’t cost a lot and are very easy to prepare.

1. Eggs

Eggs are the perfect food, literally. A large egg has around 6 grams of protein and around 5 grams of fat. Eggs are also really big on vitamin A, E, B12, B2, B5, a plethora of other good stuff, including all of the essential amino acids.

I know eggs are demonized by the media. They are accused of causing heart attacks, strokes, clogging arteries and other nonsense, but scientific evidence does not support these claims. In fact, a recent Finnish study came to this conclusion:

Egg or cholesterol intakes were not associated with increased CAD risk, even in ApoE4 carriers (i.e., in highly susceptible individuals). [3]

Hmm, eggs weren’t effective at increasing coronary artery disease even in very susceptible individuals? How shocking! I am actually not surprised. That’s why you need to question everything nowadays.

Price and availability

Eggs are cheap and available everywhere, that’s just adds to the perfect food criteria.

Ease of use

Don’t think there’s anything easier that cooking a couple sunny side up eggs, or a silky smooth omelette with vegetables and feta cheese.

2. Chicken breast

Chicken breasts are pretty much the staple of my diet. They go really well with rice, vegetables and they can be a part of a very satisfying soup. 100 grams of cooked chicken breast contains around 31 grams of protein.

Also, chicken is a good source of vitamins (C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B-6, folate, B-12, vitamin A, E, D, and K) and minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, and zinc). Plus, multiple studies have shown that high protein diets may help in long term weight loss.

A fat-reduced diet high in protein seems to enhance weight loss and provide a better long-term maintenance of reduced intra-abdominal fat stores. [4]

and…

Weight loss was significant within (P < 0.05) but similar between (P > 0.05) the beef-consumption (5.6 ± 0.6 kg, mean ± standard error) and the chicken-consumption (6.0 ± 0.5 kg) groups. [5]

Price and availability

Chicken is available anywhere in the world and it’s one of the cheapest meats you can buy.

Ease of use

Even if you haven’t cooked in your life, you can still make a decent tasting chicken. Almost every meat is prepared by heavily seasoning it with salt and pepper and throwing it on a medium-high heat pan.

The only difficult part in cooking meat is knowing when the meat is done. That takes a little bit of practice, but the general rule is cook each side for 3-5 minutes, depending on thickness and let the meat rest, for 2-3 minutes on a plate afterwards.

3. Pork chops

Pork chops are a decent alternative to chicken breast. You may get tired of eating chicken all the time, so pork chops are my favorite protein source after chicken breasts. 100 grams of pork chops contain around 27 grams of protein.

In addition, pork chops are a good source of vitamins (D, B-12, B-6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin) and minerals (phosphorus, potassium, zinc and selenium).

Price and availability

Generally, pork chops are a little pricier than chicken, at least where I am from, but they are still quite affordable.

Ease of use

Just like chicken cooking pork chops is pretty simple. Medium-high heat pan with a little bit of olive oil, 3-5 minutes per side depending on thickness and you’re good to go. Goes well with pretty much any carbohydrate you can think of, except cereal.

4. Beans

I love beans, I think you should love beans too. Although, beans are not that high in protein, ranging from anywhere between 5-9 g per 100 g (depending on the kind), but they are a good addition to your every meal.

Beans are rich in dietary fiber (7 g per 100), which is very beneficial, because fiber slows down digestion of carbohydrates, which leads to a more even stream of glucose into your blood.

Hence, you will fill up quicker and will stay satisfied for longer, so it’s a very good idea to add beans to your diet, especially when trying to lose weight.

In addition, beans are a good source of vitamins (vitamin K, thiamin, folate, choline) and minerals (iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese) as well.

Price and availability

Beans are incredibly cheap and are available anywhere in the world.

Ease of use

They are extremely easy to use. You can buy canned beans, just rinse them from the goo they usually sit in and you can add them to pretty much anything: salads, soups, sandwiches, main meals etc.

5. Dairy

Generally dairy is a very good source of protein along many other things. My favorites are cheese, Greek yogurt and something that is popular in European countries and among Slavic people – quark.

Cheese is usually very calorie dense, but it’s also very high in protein. Some cheeses have 25 grams of protein per 100 grams.  In addition, cheese is amazing at adding a lot of flavor to all kind of dishes.

Cheese is very rich in vitamins (vitamin A, B12, riboflavin) and minerals (calcium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium).

Greek yogurt is also an amazing source of protein. Just make sure you buy real Greek yogurt, full fat and with high protein content (10 grams of protein per 100 grams).

Quark is the same as cottage cheese, but different. I don’t know how to explain it, you just have to try it for yourself. 100 grams of quark may have up to 18 grams of protein, which is insane.

Price and availability

Most dairy products are available in the majority of grocery stores worldwide. But, quark may be difficult to find, especially if it’s not part of traditional cuisine in your country. All these simple products are quite affordable.

Pro tip: don’t buy shredded, or sliced cheese and you’ll save a lot of money.

Ease of use

Don’t think you need to know how to use cheese, or Greek yogurt, or even quark. Greek yogurt is a very good dessert. Just add fresh, or frozen berries and a spoonful of honey and you’re good to go. Also, it’s good in smoothies and sauces.

Quark is different, but quark can be a part of very filling and tasty pancakes, or can be eaten as a dessert, just like Greek yogurt.

In fact, since quark is not really moist, you can mix Greek yogurt and quark for an ultimate muscle building protein combo.

In a nutshell

All these products are real, natural food, which you should not be afraid to eat, despite what mainstream media tells you. Even though, these products are processed, they are not processed the way sausages, bologna, or beef jerky are. They are processed for convenience, rather than taste, texture and shelf life.

What are your sources of protein and why?

Written by Mark Forge

Mark Forge is the founder of FatForge - an information website dedicated to busting nutrition myths, scams and lies while helping people turn their weight around. If you want to lose weight I suggest starting here.

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