Red meat, a category that includes cow, bison, lamb, and pork (not a “white meat,” as the slogan implies), is high in iron, B vitamins, zinc, and animal protein, which speeds muscle growth and recovery. But despite its reputation as a protein superfood, red meat receives only a “good” score in our ranking, because it’s lower than other foods in the amino acid tryptophan, which helps regulate appetite. Plus, meat can also be high in hormones, antibiotics, and other chemicals, so prioritize grass-fed or organic when possible, and limit consumption to three times a week.
Choose a half-pound burger made from lean, grass-fed meat for 42 grams of protein, plus less saturated fat and more omega-3s than grain-fed chuck. Top round, flank, and trimmed sirloin are also lean. Protein Power: Good*
*Rankings are Excellent, Good, and Fair, based on the Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS), which rates foods’ amino acid profile.
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