Kelvin Brown, MD, MPH

Surgeon, Author, Bariatric Specialist, Serial Entrepreneur and Public Health Expert

Healthy Protein for Weight Loss

If you choose to jump-start your diet with low-carb, high-protein foods, there are plenty of healthy protein choices from which to choose. Select leaner cuts of meat or poultry, as they are lower in fat and calories. 

Eat more fish, which is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. You also get the benefit of omega-3 fatty acids when you eat fatty fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, and trout. For instance, tuna is rich in omega-3 fatty acids (n-3 PUFA), eicosopentoic (EPA), and docosahexoic (DHA). These fatty acids are known to reduce inflammation and may help ease back pain in some people.  Vegetarians may prefer whole foods that contain alpha linolenic, another omega-3 fatty acid, including soybeans, canola oil, flaxseed and nuts.

Be sure to include soy foods, which are naturally low in calories, fat, and carbohydrates. Soy, the most complete vegetable protein, is also rich in vitamin E, fiber, calcium, magnesium, lecithin, riboflavin, thiamine, folic acid, iron and essential fatty acids and should be a regular part of diet.

Here are some of the lean protein choices for weight loss:

Lean Protein

Lean Meat, Poultry, and Fish, including:

Beef: USDA Select or Choice grades of lean beef trimmed of fat, such as round, sirloin, and flank steak; tenderloin; roast (rib, chuck, rump); steak  (T-bone, porterhouse, cubed), ground round

Pork: Lean pork, such as fresh ham; canned, cured or boiled ham; Canadian bacon; tenderloin, center loin chop

Lamb: Roast, chop, leg

Veal: lean chop, roast

Poultry: Chicken, turkey (dark meat, no skin), chicken white meat (with skin),   domestic duck or goose (well-drained of fat, no skin)

Fish: Herring (uncreamed or smoked); oysters; salmon (fresh or canned); catfish; sardines (canned); tuna (canned in oil, drained), mackerel and other fatty fish

Game: Goose (no skin); rabbit

Soy Protein, including:

·       Edamame (beans in the pod)

·       Miso (paste)

·       Meat analogs (textured soy protein)

·       Soybeans

·       Soy cheese

·       Soy flour

·       Soy milk

·       Soy nuts

·       Tempeh

·       Tofu (soft;  silken, firm, extra-firm)

·       Tofu (water-packed; firm or extra-firm)

Seeds and Nuts, including

·       Almonds

·       Almond butter

·       Macadamia nuts

·       Peanuts

·       Peanut butter

·       Pumpkin seeds

·       Sunflower seeds

·       Walnuts

Fish High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids






Atlantic Herring


Atlantic Salmon