When it comes to dieting for weight loss, more often people tend to cut out meat entirely from their diet. This so happens because some meats have gotten a bad rap. Instead of researching to determine which are the acceptable meats for weight loss, people just decide to stop meat consumption all together. The thing is you do not necessarily have to give up on meat consumption just yet. All you need to do is make better meat selections. For example, you can consider consuming only lean meats for weight loss. So, if you love meat, you do not have to worry about cutting it out while on your weight loss journey.
For ideal weight loss, health gurus recommend that you consume lean meats. The problem with this is that they do not specify which meats fit in this category. As such, dieters tend to have a hard time determining what is considered lean and what is not.
In this article, we will be looking into the best lean meats for weight loss. We will discuss why these meats are not off-limits, their potential health benefits, risks, and examples. Use this guide on lean meats for weight loss to help you make smart dieting choices.
What Are Lean Meats?
While this may sound like common knowledge, in real sense, it is not. You may have heard of lean meats in various eating plans but still cannot necessarily tell what they are. Lean meats refer to meats with relatively low-fat content (4).
For the longest time now, meat has been considered a culprit for weight gain. As such, you may find various articles encouraging you to keep away from meat consumption in order to shed extra pounds. Realistically speaking, this is soul-crashing for meat lovers.
Again, such information is misleading. Not all cuts of meat can promote weight gain. Some cuts, especially the lean ones have low-fat content, and can hardly cause you to gain a pound. With that said, do your own research before deciding to cut out meat entirely from your diet. Turns out that some information is inaccurate and misleading.
How Do You Determine Lean Meats?
Are you wondering how you will pick out the leaner cuts of your meat? Easy! Medicine Net recommends you decipher the following information on meat labels for more insight (3):
- The lean percent. Always settle for meat whose lean percent is 95 and above.
- The term ‘loin’. You can also determine leaner meat cuts by looking for meats that bear the term ‘loin.’ These include tenderloin, top loin, or sirloin.
- The term ‘round.’ Also opt for meats with the word ‘round’ in them. For example, top round or bottom round.
- Fat visibility. Lean meats will contain little to no visible fat content. In case there is some visible fat, remember to trim it before cooking.
- Fat and calorie content. You can also determine lean meats by looking at their fat and calorie content. According to Medical News Today, lean meat tends to have about 3 grams of fat and 55 calories (10).
Why Lean Meats For Weight Loss?
If you look at the best foods for weight loss, you will discover that lean meat will not be absent. It makes us question why these meats and not others are recommended to any dieter whose aim is to shed pounds.
The thing is, lean meats tend to have low fat and calorie content. As mentioned earlier, lean meats have about 3 g of fat and 55 calories. Weight loss is only attainable when you consume fewer calories than your body burns (8). It is what is known as a calorie deficit.
Lean meat consumption can help you maintain this calorie deficit as the calories in these cuts are relatively low. However, remember that maintaining a calorie deficit is just a portion of what you need to do to lose weight.
Please note, and do not be fooled into thinking that with your diet in check now weight loss comes automatically. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), healthy weight loss goes beyond short-term dietary changes (5).
You also have to implement various lifestyle changes that promote weight loss. They range from regular physical activity, getting enough sleep, moving more, and reducing your stress levels (5).
What Are The Best Lean Meats For Weight Loss?
Do you want to create a weight loss meal plan that also contains lean meats? The first and most important thing you have to do is determine the types of lean meats. There are several selections and all are healthier food options that promote weight loss.
With this in mind, before you consider them for your weight loss diet plan, make sure you consult with your doctor and dietitian. It is important to go through with food that meets your nutritional needs and fits your calorie range. With that in check, you can now proceed to evaluate the lean meats list for weight loss. It includes the following:
Lean beef is one of the most common types of meats that is wrongly judged. It tends to take the heat as it is viewed as red meat. For the longest time now, there have been numerous debates about whether red meat is good or bad for your health.
Red meat is associated with numerous health effects. First and foremost, it is associated with a high risk of cancer (11). In particular, it is linked to the high risk of development of prostate, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers.
Secondly, red meat is also considered a major risk factor for high blood pressure and diabetes. These are the two most common causes of kidney failure. This means that the increased risk of diabetes and high blood pressure increases your risk of kidney failure (11).
Likewise, red meat consumption is also associated with heart problems. Medical News Today summarizes a Swedish study that aimed at discovering the link between red meat consumption and heart failure (11).
The researchers discovered that men who ate over 75 g of processed red meat daily had a 1.28 times greater risk of heart failure (11). Such risks are what drive most people to cut red meat consumption from their diet.
Truth be told, they lied to you by not pinpointing healthier red meat options, which are found in the lean beef cuts. So forget about all that has been said about red meat and add lean beef to your diet.
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How To Determine Lean Beef
The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) has put some guidelines in place to help you with this determination. It is by regulating the amount of fat and cholesterol in every meat. According to Mayo Clinic, the USDA states that a 3.5 ounce (100g) lean beef cut should contain the following (1):
- Less than 10 g total fat
- Less than 95 mg of cholesterol
- Less than 4.5 g saturated fat
If it is an extra-lean cut of beef, then a 3.5-ounce serving (100 g) should contain less than:
- 2 g saturated fat
- 5 g total fat
- 95 mg of cholesterol
Examples Of Lean Beef
The term lean beef is quite general. When you go meat shopping, you have to be sure of what lean beef cuts you want. Some examples of lean beef include flank steak, sirloin, chipped beef, and tenderloin.
Extra-lean beef cuts include the eye of round roast and steak and the sirloin tip side steak. The top sirloin steak, top round roast and steak, and bottom round roast and steak are also extra lean beef cuts (1).
The good thing is that there are numerous ways you can prepare these types of lean meats. It all comes down to the flavors you want in your food. Remember that your goal is to lose weight, so, focus on healthy cooking methods.
Again, couple your meat with other healthy food options. For example, you can have your flank steak with vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. You can also prepare some cauliflower rice to serve alongside this dish.
Combining lean meats and veggies for weight loss is one of the ways you can lose weight both safely and steadily. Again, remember to keep track of your calorie intake. It is quite possible to exceed your daily calorie range, even when you are consuming healthy foods.
Your meat intake should be determined by your calorie needs. If this is the case, then you will hardly exceed your calorie count. According to Medical News Today, your calorie intake is determined by your age, sex, activity level, and body size (10). If your calorie limit is 2, 000 calories daily, then you are required to consume 50 g of protein daily (10). The best of these sources are from lean meats like lean beef.
Lean pork is as good for your health as lean beef. With relatively low-fat content, lean pork reduces your risk of various health conditions including high blood pressure. Considering this, it can be a great alternative if you want to take a break from lean beef.
However, some people may not eat pork due to various religious reasons. If this is the case, then ask your nutritionist to provide any healthier meat option. Compared to other pork processed products like bacon, lean pork stands out for its numerous health benefits (16).
According to WebMD, lean pork contributes to less body fat, which leads to better heart health (12). Too much fat increases your risk of high blood pressure and bad cholesterol, all of which are ticking time bombs for poor heart health.
Examples Of Lean Pork
If you are craving some nice lean pork, then get yourself some pork roasts or tenderloin. They are the healthiest lean pork options compared to other pork products like bacon. Like with beef, choose healthy cooking methods to prepare your lean pork. Grilling is an example of this healthy cooking method. Do not worry, grilling will not interfere with the flavors of your meat. Instead, it may actually elevate them, leaving you with a juicy and flavorful lean pork piece.
Is Lean Pork A White Or Red Meat?
Numerous questions exist about whether pork is red or white meat. By looking at it, you may think it is white meat as it is not necessarily dark red. The reality is that lean pork is classified under the red meat category by the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) (13).
The thing is, lean pork generally has more myoglobin as compared to white meat like fish or chicken. Myoglobin refers to the protein in meats holding oxygen in the muscles. It is responsible for the determination of the color of any meat (13).
Bison is another example of lean meats to eat at lunch for weight loss. However, it does not necessarily have to be at lunchtime per se. You can also prepare it for dinner. Bison is an excellent protein source that can provide you with your daily protein requirements.
According to Medical News Today, bison tends to offer less fat per serving compared to beef. As such, this meat has become quite popular (16). The less fat content minimizes the chances of developing fatty plaques that eventually clog your arteries. When this happens, you now acquire heart diseases (12).
Bison reduces this risk. You may find yourself cooking bison as a substitute for beef. Whatever the case, the fact remains that this lean meat is an ideal healthy meat option for weight loss.
Skinless, White Meat Poultry
It is without a doubt that you need to eat lean proteins to sustain your weight loss results, In addition to lean beef, pork and bison, you can also add skinless white meat poultry to your diet plan (14).
White meat poultry can be chicken or turkey. Turkey is an excellent protein source. It contains all the nine essential amino acids, hence the reason why it is considered a complete protein (12). It also contains low levels of saturated fats compared to most types of red meats.
100 grams of boneless turkey can provide you with roughly 13 g of protein (16). Remember to consume it skinless if you are watching your weight. Again, make sure you pick a healthy cooking option. For example, you can choose to put it in an outdoor smoker for some hours to gently cook and tenderize.
Likewise, chicken is also a great lean protein source. It is quite popular and probably a staple in most households. However, for weight loss, you are advised to serve it without skin. A 136 g of a skinless chicken breast provides you with at least 26 g of protein (16).
Talk to your nutritionist to better distribute white meat consumption throughout your week. Also, get help from them on how to calculate your calories to avoid jeopardizing your weight loss results.
Another example of lean meaty that ranks among healthy entrees for weight loss is lean lamb. Some lean lamb cuts include the loin chop, tenderloin, and leg (6). In case these sections have some fat, remember to trim it off before cooking.
You can always enhance the flavor that perhaps is lost after trimming using marinades. Make sure you use low-fat marinades as our end goal is to shed pounds. You can try marinade mixtures like spices and herbs mixed with citrus juice, soy sauce, or wine (6).
Some examples of wild game like rabbit and venison are also considered lean meats. The list also contains duck, pheasant, and goose. All of these must be consumed without skin (10). Remember to seek professional help and advice, especially if it is your first time trying wild game.
Fish And Seafood
WebMD also acknowledges that fish and seafood are also great lean meats (14). They are loaded with proteins, which as mentioned earlier help your body with various functions.
Why Lean Meats?
- Meeting your protein needs. We all need protein in our bodies as it plays various roles. They include blood clotting, maintaining fluid balance, immune system responses, vision, enzymes, and hormones (7). Lean meats are loaded with complete protein and supply your body with enough protein to perform these functions.
- Giving your body minerals and vitamins. Lean meats are rich in iron, which helps in the preservation of numerous vital body functions. They include regulation of body temperature, gastrointestinal processes, general energy, and the immune system (2). Lean meats are also great sources of B vitamins, and especially vitamin B12. This is vital especially in infants for brain development and the production of healthy red blood cells (15).
Risks Of Consuming Lean Meats For Weight Loss
Lean meats do not have detrimental health effects per se. However, like any other food, too much of lean meats can affect your weight loss results. The reason behind this is because you get to consume more calories than your body is burning.
As stated earlier, weight loss involves a calorie deficit. It is only made possible when you watch your food portions and ratios. So, no matter how tantalizing that lean meat is, make sure you stick to the recommended serving sizes.
You can also avoid exceeding your calorie intake by serving your meals on smaller plates. Also, avoid distractions when you are eating your meals. Keep your phone away or switch off the television. Be present at the moment and enjoy your food. It helps avoid overeating, which means an increase of extra calories (9).
For ideal weight loss, diet plays a very crucial role. As such, weight watchers are advised to consume fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats for weight loss. Lean meats tend to be relatively low in their fat content.
Some examples of lean meats include lean beef, lean pork, bison, lean lamb, skinless, white meat poultry, and wild game. Speak to a dietitian for more help on how to properly incorporate these lean meats into your weight loss diet plan.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
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- How to safely and effectively create a calorie deficit for weight loss (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Improving Your Eating Habits (2020, cdc.gov)
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