Study Finds Fish Better Than Lean Meat for Weight Loss

071226003611-largeAsk any nutritionist, weight-loss coach, or successful dieter – when you’re looking to drop a few pant sizes, food choice matters.

While portion control and exercise are obviously also major factors, eating the right kinds of foods can make or break your diet plan more than anything else.  You may have heard of the so-called good carbs and bad carbs, but the proper dieting decisions go far beyond just those choices.  Limiting your intake of carbohydrates as a whole can be beneficial when dieting, and shifting your intake to include higher proportions of protein and healthy (usually unsaturated) fats can boost your metabolism as well as your overall health.  Instead of cooking in butter and topping your sandwiches with mayonnaise, one should try cooking with olive oil and adding avocado or mustard to add excitement to a boring lunch.  And instead of eating ground beef or fried chicken, try some lean bison steaks or grilled chicken.

However, the answer to losing weight isn’t just as simple as swapping a few foods here and there.

To really accelerate your weight loss, you have to take advantage of the unique aspects of each particular food.  If that sounds too complicated, though don’t worry – it’s not.  Recent research has indicated that one tiny change can make a dramatic difference in your weight loss efforts. The change – switching from eating lean meat to lean fish.  Despite the common belief that the ideal weight-loss regimen consists of copious amounts of grilled chicken and broccoli, a recent study published in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases, found that eating fish instead of other lean protein products can result in faster weight loss.

In the study, researchers broke the pool of subjects into three groups:

one that was given lean meat as a main protein source, and one that was given cod, a low-fat fish, three times weekly in place of the lean meat, and one that was given cod five times per week in place of the meat.  The participants followed this protocol as part of a strict diet for eight weeks.  Even in this short time span, researchers noticed significant differences. According to the results, just three weekly servings of cod was enough to promote weight loss benefits, and the advantages increased with higher fish consumption.  As such, group consuming cod five times per week had the best results, losing about 3.74 more pounds than the lean meat only group.  Waist circumference and fat mass reductions were also superior in this group.

omega-3-fish-benefitsAnd unlike many weight-loss diets,

the plan followed in this experiment did not include an insanely high amount of protein paired with very few carbohydrates.  Just 17 percent of total calories came from protein, compared to 35 percent from fat and 48 percent from carbohydrates.  This study shows that dieting doesn’t need to be extreme; as long as one makes smart choices, a balanced, reasonable diet can promote impressive weight loss.


Ramel A, Jonsdottir MT, Thorsdottir I. Consumption of cod and weight loss in young overweight and obese adults on an energy reduced diet for 8-weeks. Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases, 2009; 9(10):690-696.