There’s protein and there’s lean protein. But do you know the difference?
Maybe you think you do and you just want to check you’ve got it right or perhaps this is the first you’ve heard of lean protein and you want to learn all there is to know about it. It is a source of protein that’s low in saturated fat and calories, and thus it’s called ‘lean.’
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines a lean protein source as having less than 10 grams of total fat (4.5 grams or less from saturated fat) and fewer than 95 milligrams of cholesterol in a 100 gms serving.
Another way to define lean protein is a protein source that has 2 to 3 grams of fat per ounce.
This type of protein is widely recognised as a healthier type of protein as it can impact heart health in a better way.
Read on to know more about why this ‘lean protein is considered healthier than the rest.
Why lean protein is healthier?
Being mindful of how much-saturated fat you consume on a daily basis, especially from meat, is essential for good heart health. It is considered the ideal choice by many because lean protein enables you to meet your protein intake requirements, as well as helps you maintain healthy cholesterol levels and look after your heart. Not just that, but lean protein can also be helpful if you want to lose weight and are keeping a close eye on your calorie intake. This kind of protein helps increase metabolism while supporting your immune system.
Foods that are rich in lean protein
There are different kinds of food that vary in their protein-to-fat ratio. Lean protein refers to foods that are high in protein while being low in fat. Thus, fish, dairy, and powdered peanut butter are just a few examples of lean proteins. Here are some of the best lean protein sources that you must include in your diet.
1. Boneless skinless chicken breast
The boneless & skinless chicken breast is a staple of fitness-friendly and weight-loss eating plans for a reason: It’s sky-high in protein and low in calories. It’s also rich in vitamin B3 & B6 which helps in boosting your metabolism.
2. White fish
White-flesh fish e.g. tilapia, cod, flounder and pollock is protein rich and very lean, with only about 100 calories per 100 gms serving.
3. Beans & lentils
These vegetarian proteins are super-healthy and you should eat them frequently. Not only do they give you protein (9 grams per half cup), but they are also brimming with filling fibre, heart-healthy folate and energy-creating iron.
4. Tofu & related soy foods
Soy is one of the top vegetarian protein sources. 1/2 cup of tofu gives you 8-10 grams of protein (depending on whether it’s soft or firm), while 1 cup of edamame gives you 17 grams. Calcium-set tofu also gives you a healthy dose of bone-building calcium, while edamame also packs a whopping 8 grams of fibre.
5. Nuts & seeds
Unless you’re allergic to them, nuts and seeds are a must-have in your diet. A Harvard research study found that they’re one of the top foods linked to weight loss. Plus they’re chockfull of healthy fats and fibre, in addition to protein. Natural peanut or almond butter is a great choice for topping your morning toast. Toss pumpkin and sunflower seeds together with dried fruit for an energizing afternoon snack.
The incredible, edible egg is a good way to get a bit of protein in your diet. One egg offers 6 grams of protein for just 70 calories. Most of that protein is in the egg white, so an easy way to boost the protein content of your morning scramble—without going overboard on saturated fat or dietary cholesterol—is to add extra egg whites. Think outside of breakfast and add a hard-boiled egg to your salad at lunch or pack a shelled hard-boiled egg for a surprisingly satiating snack.