You can’t really go wrong when it comes to a seafood-based diet because fish and shellfish are so good for you. However, depending on your own health and fitness goals, eating some species may help you more than others. For example, when you want to minimize body fat and maximize muscle, eating a lean fish like Tilapia may be your best bet.
Will Eating Tilapia Help Me Lose Weight?
Tilapia is a smart choice when it comes to weight loss because it’s super lean. A 4 ounce fillet packs 21 grams of protein and one gram of fat in only 90 calories. To understand just how lean Tilapia is in comparison to other proteins, we can compare it to 4 ounce servings of other meats:
- The leanest ground beef (95% lean, 5% fat) has 24 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat and 153 calories
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are a bit better, at 34 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat and 184 calories
- Farmed Atlantic salmon has 23 grams of protein, but is a fattier fish with 12 grams of fat and 207 calories.
Tilapia certainly stands out as a great way to keep your protein levels nice and high while cutting back on extra calories and fat.
Why Is Shedding Calories Important?
Calories are the energy we obtain from eating food; our bodies store excess energy in the form of fat so that we have a fuel source for later. To lose body fat, you need to burn more calories than you consume over a sustained amount of time—that’s rule number one when it comes to losing weight. Rather than relying on dangerous crash diets to shed fat suddenly, you’ll be healthier and happier if you start eating lower-calorie and lower-fat foods, and allow your weight to decrease over the course of an extended period.
Tilapia’s high protein-to-calorie ratio has another added perk: people feel fuller longer after consuming protein-rich foods. That means you’ll be less likely to turn to little snacks or sugary treats if you make Tilapia a regular part of your meal plan.
How Does Tilapia Help With Gaining Muscle?
Proteins—and the amino acids that make protein—are necessary for our bodies to build muscle. The problem is that many foods that are high in protein, such as animal products like meat and dairy, are also high in fat. Fish, especially lean white fish like Tilapia, is an exception to this rule. Tilapia provides all the protein you’ll need to tone your physique without packing on the pounds.
Further, if you’re a bodybuilder and you want to bulk up, you want to put on the proper kind of weight, in the correct places. Again, Tilapia is a great help because of its high protein count—according to the popular bodybuilding website Simply Shredded, you’ll maximize your muscle gains if you have two servings of this nutritious, low-fat fish an hour after your workout.
Change it Up
Whether you’re losing weight, building strength or both, you need to switch your exercise regimen on a regular basis so that your progress doesn’t plateau. Why not experiment with your diet as well? Tilapia’s mild flavor makes it one of the most versatile fish, which means you don’t have to eat the same meal day in and day out. There are dozens of recipes you can consult, and since Tilapia is easy to prepare, you can even play around with your own combinations of dressings, spices and herbs.
Bear in mind, though, that baking or grilling your Tilapia is the best way to keep the calorie and fat counts low. A little bit of butter or oil to prevent sticking or burning will inevitably increase its fat content, but it’s better than a fried alternative. And don’t forget your sides and toppings—high-fat and high-carb foods will only offset all the positive aspects of a lean fish like Tilapia. If you’re looking to lose fat and gain muscle, or even just drop a few pounds, your whole diet should reflect that goal.
Photo Credits: Lapina Maria / Shutterstock Inc., AS Food studio / Shutterstock Inc., Africa Studio / Shutterstock Inc., pixinoo / Shutterstock Inc., farbled / Shutterstock Inc.