There is a reason bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts constantly chug down protein shakes. And most who are serious about their physique, also eat lean protein meats on a daily basis. One look at the importance of protein and its benefits, and it’s easy to see why there is a lot of buzz surrounding lean protein meats.
Protein is the building block of cartilage, muscles, and bones just to name a few. It’s also very important for your skin and blood. Protein is the foundation of not only building muscle, but also repairing muscles within the body. So if you lead an active lifestyle, this specific nutrient should be a huge part of your diet on a daily basis.
Protein Burns Fat
It has also been found to burn fat and aid in weight loss. Kris Gunnars, a nutritional researcher, has proven that protein increases metabolism while reducing appetite levels significantly. This is the secret sauce for weight loss and getting lean.
And according to Neil Osterweil, contributor and writer at WebMD, protein is an important macronutrient, which means that the body requires large amounts of it on a daily basis. The fact that protein is not stored within the body adds to the importance of eating it every day. (1)
What is Protein
Protein is composed of small molecules called amino acids. Amino acids are linked together, forming protein chains. Eating animal products like lean protein meats allows your body to fully utilize the protein source, as the ratios are ideal for your body to make full use of.
That is why lean protein meats are a near perfect source of protein. Because they come from animals, the protein structure is perfectly suited for your own protein needs because of tissue similarity. Without animal products it is difficult to consume that perfect protein ratio, and the necessary amino acids to build lean muscle.
How Much Protein Should You Consume?
The protein Reference Daily Intake (RDI) recommended for an adult is at least 50 grams per day, depending on your weight and calorie intake. (2)
How Much Protein Should You Consume?
The amount of protein in your daily diet depends on your activity level, your current weight, and your fitness goals. The protein Reference Daily Intake (RDI) recommended for an adult (very general guidelines) is at least 50 grams per day, depending on your weight and calorie intake.
More specifically, here are some guidelines for the amount you should consume:
Daily Protein for Average, Generally Sedentary Adult
.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight
So if you weigh 200 pounds, you would need to consume 72 grams of protein per day.
Daily Protein for Active Adult Trying to Build Lean Muscle
There are certain factors that dictate whether or not to increase the amount of protein intake per meal. For instance, athletic individuals and elderly individuals should eat more protein to aid muscle recovery and growth.
Just ensure that during your 4 to 5 meals per day, your plate makes up 30-50g of protein if you’re working out and trying to lose fat and gain muscle. By adhering to this, you’ll at least be sure that you are getting enough protein to help sustain muscle growth and maintain optimal health.
To ensure that you consume the recommended amount at every meal, you must first learn the food sources to look for. From plain yogurt, low-fat milk, low-fat cottage cheese, beans and lentils, to egg whites, there are a number of high-protein sources.
However, lean protein meats contain the highest amount of protein, which is an ideal way of ensuring that you achieve the recommended amount.
Top Sources of Lean Protein Meats
Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breast
If you enjoy chicken, whether grilled or baked, you’re in luck. The leanest sections to go for include the breasts, wings and breast tenderloins. By eating this, you will be getting 30g of protein. If you’re leading a busy life you can buy frozen chicken breasts that are ready in 10 minutes in a skillet on your stove top.
Skinless, Boneless Turkey Breast
Very similar to chicken is the skinless turkey breast. Also an excellent lean protein meat that is not only delicious, but will load your diet with the very best sources of protein. You can cook in a skillet, or grill. Seasoning is the key for good taste, but just watch the salt!
Sirloin Steak for High Value Protein
If you’re a steak lover, there is still a way to enjoy your fave feast without breaking your diet. In fact, it’s an excellent lean protein meat that will help you build lean muscle. Sirloin steak is one of the leanest cuts of steak, and still maintains a really great flavor.
When it comes to pork, not all sections are considered lean. Hence, there are certain sections, such as the Pork loin chops, pork tenderloins and the pork top loin, that are lean. Each section will provide you with at least 26g of protein.
When it comes to fish, there’s no doubt of their high-protein value, as well as their other numerous benefits. Fatty fish that you should look for include salmon, tuna, mackerel, and swordfish, which have been found to contain at least 25 grams of protein. Best to bake with some olive oil (1 tablespoon spread over), or grill.
Lean Ground Beef for Lean Protein
Ground beef is lean and is extremely high in protein. Look for ground beef that is 90% or higher lean. You can generally find “92% lean” or “93% lean” in your local grocery store. Great for lean burgers, lean meatloaf, and more. Lean ground beef should contain at least 26g of protein.
1. Zelman, K. M. (2020). Protein: Why Your Body Needs It. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/benefits-protein#1.
2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration . (n.d.). Frequently Asked Questions for Industry on Nutrition Facts Labeling Requirements. U.S. Food and Drug Administration . https://www.fda.gov/media/99069/download.