There’s no doubt that maintaining a high protein intake is critical in the battle against body fat.

Not only is protein intake vital in the growth and maintenance of lean muscle tissue (which in turn helps to increase your body’s basal metabolic rate), but protein also has direct fat burning effects as well.

First of all, protein is the most filling of the 3 major macronutrients, leaving you feeling more satisfied after your meals.

This has obvious positive implications for those on reduced calorie diets as eating a lower volume of food would be more easily manageable.

The second fat burning benefit is protein’s thermogenic effect on the body.

A substance that has a “thermogenic” effect on the body is one that causes your core temperature to increase. The average temperature inside the body is 98.6 degrees, but when this level is increased by even 1-2 degrees, the fat burning metabolism is raised and more calories will be expended even at rest.

Because the amino acids from protein are more difficult for the body to digest than carbohydrates or fats, the body must inevitably work harder to break down the protein into these individual components.

This results in a thermogenic effect that causes the body to expend more calories by simply digesting the protein itself.

In order to burn as much body fat as possible while maintaining muscle tissue, high quality protein should be consumed at every single meal throughout the day.

The rest of this article will focus on my list of “top protein sources” that should be consistently included in any effective fat burning (and muscle building) nutritional approach…

Best Foods For Fat Loss: Lean Cuts Of Red Meat

Often consumed by bodybuilders in large amounts, lean red meat is a very high quality protein source that should definitely be consumed as part of your fat burning diet.

It is loaded with all kinds of valuable muscle-building nutrients such as zinc, iron, creatine and b-vitamins, which will help to facilitate muscle recovery and growth in between workout sessions.

Red meat is also a filling food source; an obvious bonus for those on a reduced calorie diet.

The only possible downside to red meat is that it can often contain excessive amounts of fat, and because of this it is very important that you closely monitor which specific cuts you are consuming to prevent your overall calorie intake from going too high.

There is a huge variance in fat content depending on which specific sources of red meat you consume, so make sure to stick to cuts of sirloin, round, flank or extra lean ground beef in order to obtain the positive benefits of the beef without the unwanted fat.

Best Foods For Fat Loss: Skinless Chicken/Turkey Breast

A complete, high quality protein source high in b-vitamins and containing almost no fat, skinless chicken and turkey breasts are a fat burning hopeful’s dream come true.

Grill, bake or broil the meat and turn it into a variety of delicious and healthy meals that will stimulate your body’s fat burning metabolism without any unwanted fat.

Make sure to stick to the white meat, as it is lower in fat than dark meat is, and also make sure to remove the skin before consuming. And remember, we’re talking about pure chicken/turkey breast here and not some processed garbage that you’ll find at the local deli.

Processed meats are lower in quality and contain preservatives, binders and other nasty fillers that should be consumed in very limited amounts if at all.

Best Foods For Fat Loss: Fish & Other Seafood

Providing high quality protein, low amounts of fat and large concentrations of healthy omega 3 fatty acids, fish and seafood are an ideal protein source for burning body fat and building muscle.

There are a ton of different options you can enjoy here, such as salmon, tuna, halibut, cod, mackerel, seabass, perch, sardines, sole and more.

Other lean seafood sources such as crab, shrimp or lobster are also fine to include as well.

When you consider all of the different types of fish and seafood that are available to you, you’ll quickly realize just how much variety you really can include in your diet.

Concerns have recently arisen about the amount of mercury contained in fish/shellfish and whether or not regular consumption of these foods is safe.

While it’s unclear just how serious this issue really is, I would still recommend that you don’t go overboard on their consumption just to be on the safe side.

3 average meals a week containing fish/shellfish should be your upper limit, and you should also pay attention to the specific sources you are consuming in order to minimize mercury consumption.

Shrimp, canned light tuna, pollock, catfish and salmon are among those with the lowest concentrations of mercury, while swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel have the highest concentrations.

Also note that albacore (white) tuna contains more mercury than canned light tuna, so always be aware of this if you are going to be regularly consuming tuna as most bodybuilders and fat loss trainees do.

Best Foods For Fat Loss: Egg Whites

Containing possibly the highest quality whole-food protein available (aside from whey) without a single gram of fat, egg whites should be a staple part of any effective fat burning nutritional program.

They can be prepared in a wide variety of different ways (scrambled, hard-boiled, fried etc.) to make an almost endless number of possible meals.

Make sure to consume the yolks in moderation as they are fairly calorie dense. There is nothing wrong with the yolks (they’re actually the most nutrient dense portion of the egg), but consuming too many can end up shooting your overall calorie intake too high.

You can manually remove the yolk after cracking the egg open, or for convenience sake you can purchase pre-separated egg whites in small cartons at the grocery store.

As long as you stick primarily to the egg whites you can virtually consume them without limits.

Best Foods For Fat Loss: Skim Milk

At 8 grams of protein per cup with almost no fat, skim milk is a great addition to your fat burning diet.

It can be used as a mixing liquid for your whey protein, smoothies or meal replacement powders, or is also fine to consume on its own.

Milk is also a great source of short-chain fatty acids, calcium and other valuable vitamins and minerals.

I would recommend sticking to skim milk if possible, as it has the lowest fat content of any type of milk out there.

Best Foods For Fat Loss: Low-Fat Cottage Cheese

A great source of high quality protein providing 15 grams in just half a cup (along with just 4 grams of carbs and 2 grams of fat), low-fat cottage cheese is an awesome addition to a solid fat burning diet.

A lot of people aren’t crazy about the taste of cottage cheese on its own, but mixed with fresh strawberries, diced peaches, chopped banana or pineapple chunks it can make for a tasty snack.

You can consume your cottage cheese as a smaller part of a complete dish, or you can use it as a primary protein source in your meals.

Best Foods For Fat Loss: Whey Protein Powder

With the highest biological value ranking and “convenience factor” of any protein source available, whey protein is highly recommend for anyone looking to burn fat, build muscle and change their body composition.

Whey protein is extracted during the process of turning milk into cheese and is an ideal source for pre-workout nutrition, post-workout nutrition, morning nutrition or just about any other time you can think of.

Whey comes in a variety of different flavours and brands and can be purchased in either concentrate or isolate form.

– Sean

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