It burns fat. It builds muscle. And it tastes awesome.
It’s easy to love protein. All of our favorite foods — burgers, steaks, pork chops, bacon — are packed with it. And with the ever-growing popularity of whey-protein shakes, we’re taking in more of this essential muscle maker than ever before.
But are we eating the right kind? While that $9 whey smoothie might be helping your weight loss, there are far more effective — and less expensive — choices. In fact, new research indicates that if you want to lose weight, more of your protein should come not from meat and dairy, but from vegetables. In a study earlier this year in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation, researchers discovered that patients who ingested higher amounts of vegetable protein were far less susceptible to obesity, diabetes and heart disease than those who got most of their protein from animal sources. And a second study in Nutrition Journal found that “plant protein intakes may play a role in preventing obesity.”
Protein is found in almost all plants, especially nuts and whole grains. But not every plant protein is a “complete” protein, meaning one that builds muscle and burns fat just as effectively as meat. So which plants give you the best weight-loss edge? The staff of Eat This, Not That! looked beyond the T-bone to find the absolute best sources of additional protein for your weight-loss goals. Look to eat at least 0.4 grams of total protein per pound of body weight—that’s at least 60 grams a day if you weigh 150, at least 80 grams a day if you weigh 200.
WEIGHT-LOSS PROTEIN #1: Chia Seeds