With the myriad of nutritional and dietary advice out there, it has become a real challenge figuring out which is right and which isn’t. However, some of these advices are scientifically proven, and one of those studies says this; Eat lean protein. This begs the question “what is lean protein, and what are some good sources of it?”

Get your notes and text highlighters out and let’s get started.

What are lean proteins?

Lean proteins are any seafood, meat, or poultry that contains less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams and per labeled serving size.

There’s also a step above “lean protein,” too. Meat can be considered “extra lean” when it contains fewer than five grams of total fat, less than two grams of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams or serving size.

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Why should you eat lean protein?

Doctors and nutritionists often recommend lean protein because it helps limit your saturated fat intake. Saturated fats raise levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease.

Protein is important, and most of us get enough of it, however, people often choose proteins that are high in saturated fats and cholesterol, which is why many dietitians urge consumers to make leaner choices and to try adding in plant-based options. Too much dietary fat from animal sources has a negative impact on health.

What are good sources of lean protein?


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Not all cuts of beef will fit the lean meat parameters, but look for top round steak or roast, or tenderloin.


Glazia Food, Lean proteins

Opt for a top loin chop, roast, or tenderloin.

Deli meat:

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Deli meat

Pile your sandwich high with sliced ham or turkey. Roast beef is another stellar choice.


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White meat is leaner than dark, and skinless saves on saturated fat. Go for skinless chicken or turkey breast.

In addition, you can include these;


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Raw eggs

One large egg white contains 17 calories, less than one of fat, and 3.6 grams of protein. Whole eggs meet the definition of lean protein in total and saturated fats, but they have more cholesterol.


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The lean protein discussion shouldn’t just focus on meat. Soy products, like tofu, are a great source of lean protein. They contain cancer-fighting compounds called isoflavones, too.  One 3.5-ounce serving of tofu has 10 grams of fat, but less than 1.5 grams of saturated fat.


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Seafood platter

It’s hard to find a leaner source of protein than shrimp, which has less than half of a gram of fat per three-ounce serving. Combined with shrimp’s high protein content, this makes for a great choice. On the fish front, Davis recommends shopping for sustainable fish, if that’s possible and available to you. Lean protein choices include fish like tilapia, ocean perch, cod, flounder, haddock, mahi-mahi, and tuna, according to Seafood Health Facts.


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Beans and lentils fall into this category. While they don’t have quite as much protein as meat, they stand out as nutritional stars because they’re rich in fiber, a nutrient that is good for your digestion, heart, and weight management.