Best Food With High Protein And Low Fat

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Best food with high protein and low fat is essential for a healthy diet, so what are the best sources of dietary protein? You may have heard about low-carb, high fat diets. With that in mind, a lot of people buy animal-based proteins such as fish, poultry and red meat. But what if you want to avoid these food sources?

Protein and lower fat are very important in our daily diet. These are two things are needed to be kept in right proportion. In this article, we will discuss the best food with high protein and low-fat content and the health benefits of high protein diet.

Best Food With High Protein And Low Fat

This scrumptious smoothie packs protein into a sweet drink that you’re sure to love.

One of the things that makes protein unique when compared to the other macronutrients is that the body can’t store proteins the same way that it can store fat and carbohydrates. This means that it is essential to have adequate protein intake every day (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2015).

But how much protein is “adequate” for the average person?

Well, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (Pendick, 2015). So, a person weighing 160 pounds, for example, would need 58 grams of protein each day.

While getting enough protein is essential to your bodily functioning, adding more protein to an already balanced diet has its advantages. For example, protein can contribute to your efforts to build muscle.

During an intense workout, muscles undergo microscopic damage. Proteins provide the raw material necessary for constructing additional muscle fibers and rebuilding broken fibers with a thicker constitution- amounting to greater muscular strength and endurance (Schoenfeld, 2010).

Best Sources of Dietary Protein

Those seeking to build muscles need to consume more protein than the standard RDA for their weight in order to facilitate the construction of these new and improved muscle fibers.

This being said, we’ve all found ourselves gorging on high-protein foods like steak or meatloaf to “bulk” only to find ourselves weighed down and unable to keep up with our regular exercise routine. So, then, how can we add protein to our diet without having to worry about its preceived ill effects?

Getting protein from lean, non-animal sources can preserve muscle tissue and help you maintain a healthy weight (Pendick, 2015). When choosing proteins to add to your diet, the type of protein matters. Animal products are high in protein, but they can also have high amounts of saturated or trans fats.

The following list includes only foods that offer protein amidst an overall healthy nutrient profile. Pairing these protein sources with fiber-filled foods, like fruits and vegetables, and healthy starches, such as quinoa or oats, can keep your diet balanced and healthy.Fish, nuts, meats, and eggs supply plenty of protein.

Lean meats

Three ounces of lean meat typically counts as a serving of protein. Some examples of lean meat include (“Nutritional information for meat”, n.d.):

For 3 oz (85 g) servings:

  • Skinless chicken breasts — 27.2 g protein, 139 calories
  • Turkey — 14.4 g protein, 89 calories
  • Lean beef — 25.8 g protein, 158 calories
  • Lean pork — 22.2 g protein, 122 calories

Fish

In addition to providing protein, fatty fish are also good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which improves cardiovascular health. Examples of popular fatty fish include (U.S. Food & Drug Administration, 2008):

For 3 oz (84 g) servings:

  • Cod — 20 g protein, 90 calories
  • Tuna — 26 g protein, 130 calories
  • Salmon (wild) — 24 g protein, 200 calories
  • Tilapia — 22 g protein, 110 calories
  • Halibut — 23 g protein, 120 calories

Eggs

Eggs are complete proteins, giving you all 9 essential amino acids. They’re also a source of selenium, vitamin D, B-vitamins, zinc, iron, and choline. One large grade A egg (53 g) contains 6 grams of protein and 70 calories. (Egg Farmers of Canada, n.d.; United States Department of Agriculture, 2016; National Institutes of Health, 2016).

Nuts & Seeds

Many nuts and seeds are valuable sources of protein, particularly for vegans and vegetarians. Nuts and seeds that offer heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals include:

For 1 oz servings (~28 g):

  • Almonds — 6.4 g protein, 155 calories
  • Peanuts — 7 g protein, 160 calories
  • Pistachios — 5.5 g protein, 155 calories
  • Pecans — 2.7 g protein, 195 calories
  • Sunflower seeds — 6.4 g protein, 173 calories
  • Pepitas — 9 g protein, 180 calories
  • Flaxseeds — 5 g protein, 150 calories

Beans

Beans and legumes are also sources of protein. Combining most beans with rice supplies a sufficient variety of amino acids to meet your dietary needs. Some legumes that make for great dishes include:

For 1 oz servings (~28 g):

  • Chickpeas — 4.5 g protein, 109 calories
  • Black beans — 6.9 g protein, 54 calories
  • Kidney beans — 6.9 g protein, 54 calories
  • Split peas — 2.5 g protein, 106 calories
  • Pinto beans — 5.4 g protein, 46 calories

Soy Products

Tofu and tempeh are great non-animal protein sources. They can be added to nearly any meal for a healthy protein boost without the saturated fat found in animal proteins. We also carry soy protein powder to add to your smoothies and shakes.

  • Tofu (serving size ½ cup, 126 g) — 10 g protein, 88 calories
  • Tempeh (serving size 1 cup, 166 g) — 31 g protein, 320 calories (“SELF Nutrition Data: Know What You Eat”, n.d.)
  • Soy Protein Powder (serving size ~1 oz, 32.5 g) — 25 g protein, 100 calories

Dairy Products

Dairy products make great snacks, ingredients or side dishes and are rich in a variety of amino acids. Opt for lowfat or nonfat versions of these dairy products to limit your saturated fat consumption.

  • Milk, 1% fat (serving size 1 cup, 244 g) — 8 g protein, 103 calories (“SELF Nutrition Data: Know What You Eat”, n.d.)
  • Cheese, Mozarella (serving size 1 oz, 27.5 g) — 14.2 g protein, 144 calories
  • Yogurt, skim milk

Considerations for Those with Medical Conditions or Special Diets

Tofu and other soy based proteins meet only some of your protein needs

Protein deficiency can particularly pose a problem for strict vegetarians, people with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, and those with gastrointestinal problems such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. These groups of people must be particularly vigilant that they get enough protein in their diets and protein from a variety of sources.

It is important to get protein from different sources, particularly for vegetarians and vegans, because of the composition of different proteins and their contributions to the body. Proteins are composed of building blocks known as amino acids. The body breaks down dietary proteins into these building blocks before rearranging them to create structures needed for a wide variety of essential functions throughout the body.

Dietary proteins are placed into two categories: complete and incomplete proteins. Of the twenty amino acids that our bodies need, only nine cannot be synthesized by the body and must be obtained via the diet; these amino acids are considered essential. A complete protein is one that contains all nine essential amino acids (National Research Council US Subcommittee on the Tenth Edition of the Recommended Dietary Allowances, 1989).

Many animal proteins, such as red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products, are complete proteins, though there are also non-animal complete proteins, including quinoa, soy, sprouted grain bread, and buckwheat. Fortunately for vegetarians, it is also possible to eat complementary incomplete proteins that provide the full nine amino acids your body needs.

For example, eating legumes with nuts and seeds provides all of the essential amino acids. Similarly, legumes and grains (e.g. brown rice) are considered complementary proteins. It is not essential to eat these foods together at the same meal; as long as you get several complementary forms of incomplete protein throughout the day, you will get the amino acids you need.

When your body does not get enough protein, things begin to go awry. Muscle fatigue or a drop in muscle strength may be signs you’re not eating enough protein (National Institutes of Health, 2008). Additionally, be watchful for symptoms such as brain fogginess, confusion, weakness, poor immune system functioning, and hair falling out (Tedesco, 2014). These are all possible signs of protein deficiency that should go away once you begin getting enough protein again.

Best Food With High Protein And Low Fat

high protein fast food mcdonalds mcdouble

MCDONALD’S

1. MCDONALD’S MCDOUBLE

Per serving: 400 calories, 20g fat, 33g carbs, 2g fiber, 7g sugar, and 22g protein

We get it: Sometimes a salad just won’t cut it. Luckily, McDonald’s McDouble, (aka two beef patties, American cheese, pickles, ketchup, onion, and mustard) is relatively low in calories and carbs considering the amount of protein it offers. If you want, you can nix the cheese and lose 50 calories and 4 grams of fat.

high protein fast food arbys roast chicken entree salad

ARBY’S

2. ARBY’S ROAST CHICKEN ENTRÉE SALAD

Per serving: 250 calories, 14g fat, 8g carbs, 3g fiber, 4g sugar, and 25g protein

high protein fast food chick fil a lemon kale salad

CHICK-FIL-A

3. CHICK-FIL-A LEMON KALE CAESAR

Per serving: 470 calories, 24g fat, 22g carbs, 0g fiber, 8g sugar, and 43g protein

Another high-protein salad option is Chick-Fil-A’s rendition of a kale Caesar. Shaved Parmesan, panko breadcrumbs, and fresh lemon wedges make it feel very 2021.

high protein fast food wendys apple pecan salad

WENDY’S

4. WENDY’S APPLE PECAN SALAD

Per serving: 460 calories, 23g fat, 26g carbs, 5g fiber, 18g sugar, and 39g protein

The combination of apples, dried cranberries, roasted pecans and crumbled blue cheese feels a little bit ’90s and we are so into it. Go easy on the dressing if you want to keep the amount of sugar to a minimum.

high protein fast food chipotle salad with chicken

CHIPOTLE

5. CHIPOTLE SALAD WITH CHICKEN, FAJITA VEGETABLES, AND ROASTED CHILI-CORN SALSA

Per serving: 295 calories, 8.5g fat, 24g carbs, 6g fiber, 7g sugar, and 37g protein

TBH, Chipotle’s menu is all about mixing and matching, so it’s one of the easiest restaurants to find a healthy option. But to make it even simpler, we suggest swapping your usual burrito bowl for a salad (no rice equals fewer carbs) and adding the just-sweet-enough corn salsa in place of the dressing.

Low fat foods list

Low fat foods are those that have 30% of their calories or less from fats. So, if a food contains fewer than 3 grams of fat per 100 calories, it is a low fat food.

To determine if a food is low fat, a person can read its nutrition label.

It is vital to read the part of the label that lists specific values, as many manufacturers label foods as “low fat” despite them having a relatively high fat content.

Examples of low fat foods a person can incorporate into their diet include:

Cereals, grains, and pasta products

  • corn or whole wheat tortillas
  • baked crackers
  • most cold cereals
  • noodles, especially whole grain versions
  • oatmeal
  • rice
  • whole grain bagels
  • English muffins
  • pita bread

Dairy products

Dairy products can be high in fat, but food manufacturers often offer lower fat versions. These include:

  • fat free cheese
  • fat free or “skim” milk or yogurt
  • light or fat free cream cheese
  • low fat cottage cheese, milk, or yogurt

Some nondairy yogurts are also low fat.

Protein sources

cooked tofu in a bowl
Tofu is a good low fat protein source.
  • beans
  • lentils
  • tofu
  • egg whites
  • lean cuts of meat
  • lentils
  • tuna
  • peas
  • shrimp
  • skinless chicken or turkey breast
  • veggie burgers

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are naturally low fat. Choose fresh, frozen, or canned options.

Miscellaneous foods

Additional foods that can be a part of a low fat diet include:

  • mustard
  • sauces containing skim milk
  • salsa
  • vegetable based broth soups
  • popcorn
  • honey
  • jam
  • light salad dressings, or simply lemon juice and balsamic vinegar

Health benefits of High Protein Diet

1. Reduces Appetite and Hunger Levels

The three macronutrients — fats, carbs, and protein — affect your body in different ways.

Studies show that protein is by far the most filling. It helps you feel more full — with less food.

This is partly because protein reduces your level of the hunger hormone ghrelin. It also boosts the levels of peptide YY, a hormone that makes you feel full.

These effects on appetite can be powerful. In one study, increasing protein intake from 15% to 30% of calories made overweight women eat 441 fewer calories each day without intentionally restricting anything.

If you need to lose weight or belly fat, consider replacing some of your carbs and fats with protein. It can be as simple as making your potato or rice serving smaller while adding a few extra bites of meat or fish.

SUMMARY A
high-protein diet reduces hunger, helping you eat fewer calories. This is
caused by the improved function of weight-regulating hormones.

2. Increases Muscle Mass and Strength

Protein is the building block of your muscles.

Therefore, eating adequate amounts of protein helps you maintain your muscle mass and promotes muscle growth when you do strength training.

Numerous studies show that eating plenty of protein can help increase muscle mass and strength.

If you’re physically active, lifting weights, or trying to gain muscle, you need to make sure you’re getting enough protein.

Keeping protein intake high can also help prevent muscle loss during weight loss.

SUMMARY Muscle
is made primarily of protein. High protein intake can help you gain muscle mass
and strength while reducing muscle loss during weight loss.

3. Good for Your Bones

An ongoing myth perpetuates the idea that protein — mainly animal protein — is bad for your bones.

This is based on the idea that protein increases acid load in the body, leading to calcium leaching from your bones in order to neutralize the acid.

However, most long-term studies indicate that protein, including animal protein, has major benefits for bone health.

People who eat more protein tend to maintain bone mass better as they age and have a much lower risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

This is especially important for women, who are at high risk of osteoporosis after menopause. Eating plenty of protein and staying active is a good way to help prevent that from happening.

SUMMARY People
who eat more protein tend to have better bone health and a much lower risk of
osteoporosis and fractures as they get older.

4. Reduces Cravings and Desire for Late-Night Snacking

A food craving is different from normal hunger.

It is not just about your body needing energy or nutrients but your brain needing a reward.

Yet, cravings can be incredibly hard to control. The best way to overcome them may be to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

One of the best prevention methods is to increase your protein intake.

One study in overweight men showed that increasing protein to 25% of calories reduced cravings by 60% and the desire to snack at night by half.

Likewise, a study in overweight adolescent girls found that eating a high-protein breakfast reduced cravings and late-night snacking.

This may be mediated by an improvement in the function of dopamine, one of the main brain hormones involved in cravings and addiction.

SUMMARY Eating
more protein may reduce cravings and desire for late-night snacking. Merely
having a high-protein breakfast may have a powerful effect.

5. Boosts Metabolism and Increases Fat Burning

Eating can boost your metabolism for a short while.

That’s because your body uses calories to digest and make use of the nutrients in foods. This is referred to as the thermic effect of food (TEF).

However, not all foods are the same in this regard. In fact, protein has a much higher thermic effect than fat or carbs — 20–35% compared to 5–15%.

High protein intake has been shown to significantly boost metabolism and increase the number of calories you burn. This can amount to 80–100 more calories burned each day.

In fact, some research suggests you can burn even more. In one study, a high-protein group burned 260 more calories per day than a low-protein group. That’s equivalent to an hour of moderate-intensity exercise per day.

SUMMARY
High protein intake may boost your metabolism
significantly, helping you burn more calories throughout the day.

6. Lowers Your Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a major cause of heart attacks, strokes, and chronic kidney disease.

Interestingly, higher protein intake has been shown to lower blood pressure.

In a review of 40 controlled trials, increased protein lowered systolic blood pressure (the top number of a reading) by 1.76 mm Hg on average and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number of a reading) by 1.15 mm Hg.

One study found that, in addition to lowering blood pressure, a high-protein diet also reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides .

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