What Type of Protein Works Best for Weight Loss

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

If you’ve been considering the low-carb, moderate protein keto diet in order to get healthy and lose weight, I’ve got good news for you.

Because keto emphasizes eating clean protein while drastically minimizing carbs, you’ll be delighted to know that protein actually triggers fat burning and thus weight loss. (And bonus, you don't need to count calories.)

But that doesn’t mean you’re free to gorge on pounds of protein every day. Doing so could sabotage your weight loss efforts. Not because of calorie count, for example, but something completely different that may surprise you.

Let me explain.

In this article:

  1. Why Protein Triggers Fat Burning

  2. These Are The Best Protein Sources For Weight Loss

  3. Kick Your Weight Loss Into High Gear


Why Protein Triggers Fat Burning

Protein triggers a hormone called glucagon, which works different from Fat Storing Hormone, another hormone that’s triggered by what you eat.

How different?

Fat Storing Hormone makes you fat; it prevents weight loss. Glucagon, by contrast, triggers fat burning.

a sign that says Fat Burning Foods

How can you get yourself some of that fat-burning hormone? Eat a moderate amount of protein; that’s what triggers it.

By moderate, I mean 3-6 oz of protein at a meal. If you’re 18 or 20 years old, you can probably get away with a protein intake of 8 oz at a meal. The rest of you, please keep the amount moderate to get the best results.

If you creep up into eating 10 oz or more at once, that will trigger Fat Storing Hormone, prevent weight loss, and potentially prevent you from developing those lean muscles you want.

Additionally, you must bring your carbohydrate consumption down to between 20 and 50 grams per day, otherwise, you’ll trigger more Fat Storing Hormone and won’t lose weight.

The rule is: a moderate amount of protein to achieve more weight loss.

Having said that, let’s take a look at the best sources of protein to support fat burning while still getting sufficient nutrients to support your health.


These Are The Best Protein Sources For Weight Loss

I’ve listed the protein in order of their effectiveness. And I bet you’ll be surprised by the first one.

#1 Organ Meats

At the top of the list are organ meats such as liver, kidney, and heart. Organ meats are incredibly nutritious, packed with vitamins and trace minerals essential for your health. They’re even more nutritious than vegetables - and if you’ve been following me for a while, you know how important I think vegetables are!

A picture of a beef kidney

I know some of you are turning up your nose at the thought of eating organ meats. Gross, right? But there are some tasty products out there.

For an example of an excellent product, check out the liverwurst from this company; it’s truly delicious and nutritious. You don’t need to eat much to support your weight loss and help you get healthy.

Whatever kind of organ meat you choose, be sure you get it from an animal that’s been grass-fed; otherwise, the organs are full of toxins which can be harmful to you

#2 Wild Caught Fatty Fish

Fatty fish includes salmon, sardines, and mackerel. Be sure you get wild caught not farmed; you don’t want GMO (genetically modified organism) farm-raised salmon, for example. There’s evidence showing GMOs can be harmful to your health over the long term.

#3 Eggs

Pasture-raised eggs are full of nutrients. Stay away from commercial eggs, even those labeled free-range. Unfortunately, the label is meaningless. There’s no guarantee the chickens have been fed a suitable diet and allowed to roam outdoors as nature intended.

A picture of eggs on grass under blue sky

#4 Beef

Grass-fed beef actually triggers glucagon, and therefore fat burning, better than pork or poultry (chicken or turkey). For extra nutrition, see if you can get beef that’s also been what’s called grass-finished; meaning, it wasn’t fed grass until shortly before it was processed when it was fed grain and antibiotics to finish fattening it up.

#5 Pork

Next up is pork as a source of protein for fat burning. Make sure it’s organic pork; again, you want to eliminate sources of toxins.

You should also know that the label ‘hormone-free on pork doesn’t mean one is better than another, since the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) doesn’t allow pork to be fed hormones.

#6 Chicken Or Turkey

It may seem curious that chicken and turkey are lower on the list of protein sources that trigger weight loss. But see for yourself. Eat poultry and then switch to beef or organ meats and see for yourself if your weight loss changes.

And please be sure to consume organic chicken or turkey - because, as you know by now, you want to avoid toxins.

#7 Protein Powders

Coming in dead last on the list is protein powder. Now, many people have an idea that if they eat more protein powder they’ll lose more weight. But most protein powders are too lean; the leaner the protein, the more Fat Storing Hormone it will trigger.

And remember, Fat Storing Hormone prevents weight loss.

You can partially remedy this by adding a healthy fat such as MCT oil to your protein powder, but it still won’t be as effective as the other items on this list - particularly organ meats.

MCT oil is an excellent healthy fat when you’re on the keto diet. MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides, fat molecules that are easy to digest and are quickly absorbed into your bloodstream for quick energy.

However, as good as MCT is, when you combine it with protein powder you still won’t achieve the weight loss results that you would with one of these sources higher on the list.


Kick Your Weight Loss Into High Gear

You can see how if you want to lose more weight, you should eat the protein sources from the top of this list.

If you simply can’t abide organ meats, fair enough.

Concentrate on eating as much wild-caught fatty fish as you can, perhaps intersperrsed with beef or chicken. Learn for yourself which protein source best supports your weight loss, so you’ll have your fat burning dialed in.

a drawing of a woman when she’s fat then thin

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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