Turkey is a great food to have in your fridge if you’re on a weight loss diet due to its relatively low calorie count and its superior nutritional profile, including lots of protein and very few carbs.
In the rest of the article, we’re going to look at the nutritional profile of turkey in more depth and explore how to achieve a calorie deficit for weight loss.
Why is Turkey Good for Weight Loss?
Turkey is one of the best foods for weight loss due to a combination of multiple essential factors, including a lower calorie count than most comparable foods, high protein levels, and almost no carbohydrates. Turkey is also extremely versatile, allowing you to prepare all sorts of different meals with it without getting bored.
Turkey is Low in Calories
Turkey has fewer calories than meals made from some of the most common staple foods. For example, a similarly sized serving of turkey will have only around 70% of the calories of white bread. The difference is even bigger when comparing to more processed foods like fries.
What is interesting is that turkey also has a significantly lower calorie count compared to other meats. Beef, pork and even chicken have more calories for the same weight of meat. Turkey is comparable to salmon and some other fish with regard to calories, making it ideal for getting your fix of meaty protein while maintaining a calorie deficit.
Turkey is High in Protein
Not only does turkey’s low calorie count allow you to get guilt-free protein, but it has even more protein than beef, pork and chicken. This extra protein is beneficial to weight loss for its own reasons.
Protein takes significantly more energy to break down inside your body than fats and carbohydrates. This means that for whatever calories you take in as part of a protein-rich ingredient, for example turkey, a large percentage of them will be negated by the calories your body uses to metabolize them.
Protein has also been linked to feelings of satiety. This means that eating protein will leave you feeling full faster, which in turn means that you’ll eat a lower amount of food around these times. Less food means a lower calorie intake, thus making it easier for you to maintain that calorie deficit that’s essential for weight loss.
Turkey has Almost no Carbs
Turkey has a negligible level of carbohydrates, measuring in at only about one part per thousand. At this level, it is suitable for diet regimens that focus on minimizing carbs, like the ketogenic diet or the Atkins diet. Although the most important element to weight loss is maintaining a calorie deficit, keeping your carbohydrate intake low is a good way to speed up your progress.
Your body needs insulin to break down carbs. This process works, but the insulin that your pancreas releases also causes your cells to store more energy as fat. In addition to directly increasing your fat reserves, this will also require you to eat more food to feel sated, potentially leading to a calorie surplus.
Turkey is Very Versatile
If you’re the type of person who enjoys food and gets bored of the same meal easily, you won’t have that problem with turkey. You can make sandwiches out of it to take to work, cook it up for homemade burgers, or even use ground turkey to make much less calorific meatballs. The recipes are diverse enough to keep you satisfied for a long time.
Is Turkey Healthy?
Turkey is a good food to have in your diet as it’s overall healthier than red meats and a lot of other foods. In addition to the lower calorie count and high levels of protein we already discussed, turkey gets its health benefits from its wide nutritional profile of vitamins and minerals.
The vitamins that turkey is rich in include vitamin B6, which is good for the development of your brain and nervous system as a whole, and vitamin B12, which is important for metabolism in addition to maintenance of your nerves. Minerals that turkey is rich in include iron, magnesium, potassium and selenium, the last of which is believed to prevent some types of cancer.
What is a Calorie Deficit and How Does it Help You Lose Weight?
As we’ve seen, a lot of the reasons that turkey is good for weight loss is because it helps you maintain a calorie deficit, meaning that your body uses more calories than it takes in. A calorie deficit can be achieved with any combination of food as long as you keep that fundamental principle true.
Take In Fewer Calories
Replacing very calorie-dense foods with foods like turkey is a good way to reduce your calorie intake. Get into the practice of reading nutrition labels when buying ingredients, and you’ll be able to fill your fridge and pantry with the kinds of foods that you’ll enjoy, that will leave you feeling full, but will give you fewer calories.
You don’t have to get rid of specific ingredients from your meals if you don’t want to. Another way to reduce your calorie intake is to simply eat less. This might mean eating fewer meals per day, or it could mean having smaller meals when you do sit down to eat.
Burn More Calories
If you like the food you eat and you’re set on your meal times, you don’t have to change these to reach a calorie deficit. Increasing your calorie output will still bring you to negative calories for the day if it’s high enough.
You can start out by doing more physical activity, such as jogging and morning exercises, which will burn a considerable number of calories themselves. You can then move onto more intense aerobic exercises, such as swimming, which can burn up your entire daily allowance of calories in only four hours!
We’ve learned about how calorie deficits work and how you can achieve and maintain one for your weight loss journey. We’ve also looked at what makes turkey so great an ingredient in helping you get there.