One of the main benefits meat has when it comes to a weight loss diet is its protein content. Most meats contain almost no carbohydrate, but a high amount of protein. According to sports nutritionist Dr. John Berardi on the Muscle and Strength website, the body uses more energy to digest protein than it does fat or carbohydrate, leading to faster weight loss. The type of meat you pick when dieting is important, as the calorie and fat content can vary greatly from one meat to the next.
Poultry products such as chicken tend to be very lean. Pick the white meat of the chicken by opting for breast meat rather than thigh or wing. A 3-ounce serving of roasted chicken breast contains just 7 grams of fat and 170 calories, along with 25 grams of protein. The same amount of roasted thigh has 13 grams of fat, while wings have 16 grams.
Red meats such as beef and pork also contain B vitamins, zinc and iron. The key is to go for the leanest cuts available, notes nutritionist Joy Bauer. That means choosing lean or extra lean ground beef and steaks, pork tenderloin or extra lean ham. A 3-ounce serving of 95 percent lean ground beef, 3 ounces of pork tenderloin and the same amount of extra lean ham all have about 18 grams of protein.
Time for Turkey
Chicken isn't the only poultry that should grace your plate come dinner time. Turkey is actually even leaner than chicken, with a 3-ounce serving of breast containing just six grams of fat. Even the dark meat on turkey is a better choice than the dark meat on chicken, writes registered dietitian Sharon Denny on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. The same 3 ounces of wing or thigh from turkey has 10 grams of fat.
Including fish in your diet can be beneficial for the healthy fats they contain. Fish can rival meat in terms of protein content, with 3 ounces of fresh tuna containing 20 grams of protein and 3 ounces of salmon containing 17 grams. Some of the lowest calorie fish are crab and haddock, which have 90 calories per 3 ounces, orange roughy, which has 70, sole, whiting and sea bass have 100 calories, and halibut and catfish have 120 calories per serving.
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