Salmon for the Take: A Delicious Fatty Fish for Weight Loss

by Marixie Ann Obsioma
Published on July 28, 2021 and last updated for accuracy on August 8, 2021

When it comes to weight loss, salmon is one of the best types of fish that you can have. It’s unique pink-colored flesh ranges from deep red to orange and is nutrient-dense that can help you both to improve your health and lose weight (1). Along with this, salmon has a natural flavor that sets it apart from other fish that we eat – combined with a rich, fatty texture, these aspects make salmon a unique fish (2).

As stated by Mayo Clinic, there are various health benefits that you can have from consuming salmon (2). For one, it is excellent for your heart, bones, and brain (3).

There is some evidence that its omega-3 fatty acids can promote weight loss (3)(4). However, it is known that the results have been mixed, so one should not consider salmon as a main go-to solution for your weight loss plan (3). Simply put, eating salmon won’t help you lose weight unless you take it in as a part of a reduced-calorie diet coupled with regular exercise (4).

Its pink flesh makes a great addition to your diet, and it works well to be incorporated into your meal plan (2). As a high-protein food, it can keep your hunger pangs at bay, which is essential to any weight loss program (3).

Preparing this fish is also a breeze, as you can easily bake, grill, pan sear, or smoke salmon. While there are other ways to cook salmon perfectly, you’d be surprised to know that you don’t have to cook it at all, as long as it has high enough quality. Best of all, it’s safe to eat every day, according to Harvard University (2).

In general, eating more fish can improve your health and help you lose weight (1). If you’re wondering about the fuss to this weight loss food, here are some reasons you should include salmon in your diet.

Weight Loss Benefits of Salmon

Salmon is naturally a very nutritious fish. Unarguably, this fish is full of proteins and possesses irreplaceable benefits. Moreover, they seldom lose their nutrient value even after storing them long, and you can even enjoy its benefits more by learning some tricks to lengthen the shelf life of a bulk of it. As a nutrient-dense fish, salmon is packed with tons of vitamins and minerals (5).

1. Few Calories Yet Full of Nutrients

When it comes to weight loss, you need to consider the number of calories you consume. Thus, the less calories you eat, the easier it is for you to achieve weight loss. For instance, consuming 1000 less calories than what your body needs would allow you to lose two pounds in a week (5).

However, balance is key. So, for you to make sure that you’re having a safe weight loss method, it is important to give your body the right nutrients. Salmon stands out thanks to its Vitamin D content – a nutrient that is rarely found in most foods. As mentioned, the Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon are the main contributors to weight loss. (5).

It is also important to note that different types of salmon contain different sets of nutrients. A 4-oz Coho (silver) salmon contains 181 calories. Plus, it is rich in protein – making it an excellent diet aid for weight loss. On one hand, 85 grams of silver salmon offers the right amount of vitamin D that one requires (5). 

When it comes to fat, 62 grams of pink salmon contains 3.3 grams of fats. Plus, almost half of its fats come from poly and monounsaturated fats that are considered very healthy and are sufficient in lowering cholesterol. Along with Coho salmon, pink salmon are good sources of vitamin B-12, Vitamin D, niacin, selenium, and protein (5).

In contrast, 175 grams of Coho salmon contains 240 calories and 7.4 grams of fat, while the same amount of Sockeye salmon contains 266 calories and 11.4 grams of fat (5).

2. Rich Source of Lean Protein

While this fish may not be a magical weight loss food, it does offer great benefits to help you slim down. Out of all nutrients, protein is the most satiating (3). Thus, it makes you feel full longer and keeps hunger away better than carbs or fat (3)(4). 

Controlling hunger is a major benefit for following a reduced-calorie diet. On top of that, there is also evidence that consuming a high-protein diet can help you burn more calories, and incorporating protein-rich foods like salmon can help preserve muscle mass as you shed those extra fats (3).

As per registered dietitian Kylie Ivanir, “You will lose fat because salmon is a high protein/low calorie food. A serving size (approx. three to four ounces) is only 200 calories and about 25 grams protein. Eating high protein foods increases your metabolic rate and keeps you full (2).”

It also does not spike blood sugar, which is usually followed by a drop in blood sugar that stimulates hunger, according to the Harvard School of Public Health (4).

Three ounces of either sockeye or coho salmon provides 40 percent of the daily value protein, which is based on consuming 2,000 calories daily. Coho and sockeye make a good lean protein, since they have 4 grams and 6 grams of total fat, accordingly (4).

According to the American Heart Association, making salmon your protein of choice is especially advantageous if you usually consume red meat. That’s because the fat content in salmon is proven healthy for you. More specifically, red meat is high in saturated fat, which is good for shedding those extra pounds (2).

Apart from increasing satiety and fullness, protein boosts your metabolism and aids in weight loss. It is also an essential macronutrient that is necessary for the growth and repair of lean muscle tissue (1).

Remember, the key to losing weight is to create a calorie deficit diet – so salmon is not solely beneficial for weight loss. Still, it supports your weight loss by keeping you feeling full and satiated while consuming a calorie-reduced diet. It also offers you the most incredible nutrients to keep you energized and feeling good during the process (1).

3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Healthy Aging

One of the main causes of age-related dysfunction and lifestyle-related diseases is inflammation. When it comes to this condition, Omega-3 fatty acids have the potential to help relieve inflammation (1). 

In this case, eating salmon for up to three times each week significantly reduces inflammation in the body. Compared to omega-3 supplements, omega-3s found from consuming salmon have been found to be more beneficial for reducing inflammation. So, if you want to look good and young while staying fit, enjoy your salmon weekly with enough sleep and an active lifestyle (1).

The fish oil you get from salmon can help boost weight loss. A 2007 study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that overweight men who ate fish or took fish oil supplements lost 2 more pounds over four weeks compared to participants who did not consume fish (4).

Moreover, an article published in May 2007 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that fish oil and exercise work independently to reduce body fat, but when omega-3 fatty acids are combined with exercise, you may lose more weight than with exercise alone (4) .

Salmon contains very high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which helps fight belly fat by decreasing the cell size of the fat (5). Sockeye and Coho salmon each have around 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids per 3-ounce serving (4).

Adding fish oil to your already-nutritious and balanced diet boosts weight loss in the long run by improving metabolism and the body’s ability to burn fat. As a result of this type of dietary management, you’ll achieve lower BMI and less belly fat (5). 

Consuming salmon allows you to achieve fat loss, which is essential in weight loss. Interestingly, salmon also helps you fight depression and makes you more alert and sharper. Along with exercise and good nutrition, omega-3 in salmon can boost weight loss (5).

4. Vitamin B12 and Selenium Keep Your Adrenals and Thyroid in Good Shape

Vitamin B12 and Selenium are crucial nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy and function properly (1). 

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a huge role in your nervous system function, adrenal health, and metabolic functions, while selenium is a trace mineral that contributes to a healthy immune system, thyroid function, and fertility (1).

For 3 ounces of salmon, there is (1):

  • 82 percent of your daily vitamin B12 needs (1)
  • 46 percent of your daily Selenium needs (1)

Getting enough nutrients can help you produce sufficient energy to power you through your workouts and the rest of your day, guarantee that your metabolic rate is working properly, and improve your resistance to illness and disease (1).

So, if you are always on the go because of work and family commitments, consider adding salmon into your daily diet, as it can help you feel prepared for every step, as per Ivanir. She adds, “You will feel more energetic due to the high B12 content. Half a filet can provide you about 80 percent of the recommended daily intake of B12. Salmon is also high in the rest of the B vitamins, which provide your cells with energy (2).”

In addition, Cynthia Sass, a sports dietetics specialist in Tampa, Fla, explains that the protein boost from salmon can help you recover from any sustained injuries. In an interview with Runner’s World, Sass explains, “We tend to forget that healing really means building new cells, and your body needs protein to make those new cells.” So, eating salmon everyday can help your body achieve fitness goals (2).

5. Whole Body Wellness

Being healthy is crucial in weight loss. It’s about still obtaining the right nutrients while trying to get rid of the excess fat. Omega-3 strengthens your bones and joints, thus keeping osteoporosis at bay. On one hand, selenium and vitamin D protect your nervous systems caused by old age (5).

Unlike other types of fish, salmon is low in mercury. Thus, you can eat it freely. In contrast, farmed salmon has a higher chance of being contaminated by pollutants like PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls), which can harm young kids (5).

On one hand, wild caught salmon are less likely to get contaminated – making them safer to eat. Plus, they are also more nutritious and sweeter (5).

Salmon Nutrition

The only tried-and-true way of losing weight is to create a calorie deficit by eating less and/or exercising more. Make every bite count; it’s important to fill your diet with nutrient-rich foods, like salmon, which is also an excellent B vitamins, Vitamin D, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium (3). 

When it comes to salmon, your best choice is fresh and wild-caught. Otherwise, frozen is a great option, too (1).

There are a number of types of salmon based on their color, flavor, and fat content. The three most popular varieties include (per each 3 oz serving of cooked dry heat) (1):

  • Coho Salmon: 120 calories, 3.7 grams fat (1)
  • Sockeye Salmon: 133 calories, 5.7 grams fat (1)
  • Wild Atlantic Salmon: 155 calories, 6.9 grams fat (1)
  • King (Chinook) Salmon: 196 calories, 11.3 grams fat (1)

Even the fattier types of salmon deserve a spot on your plate. Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are heart-healthy, inflammation-reducing fats (1). 

Coho salmon has a meatier texture, while King salmon has a creamy buttery texture that melts in your mouth. Sockeye, on one hand, has a firm texture with a fatty flavor. For any type of salmon you choose, the best catch is always wild (1).

Ways to Prepare Salmon

Salmon does not have any magical fat burning properties and eating it will not affect your weight unless you consume the right proportions and cook it properly. On that note, there are many ways that you can prepare salmon – you can bake, pan fry, roast, poach, or even grill this flavorsome fish (1). Like most fish, you can smoke it for later use or freeze it to lengthen its shelf life (5).

You can also try other tasty ways like making sushi-grade salmon, sashimi, ceviche, and poke (1). To give you an idea, you can follow this simple idea for a possible meal plan:

  • Breakfast: Smoked salmon on omelet (1)
  • Lunch: Grilled salmon salad (1)
  • Snacks: Salmon jerky (1)
  • Dinner: Bake salmon with veggies and olive oil in foil (1)

Salmon is a hearty fish packed with tons of flavor, so it’s delicious for any type of preparation. Since it is naturally fatty, you don’t need to add a lot of oil to get that extra flavor (3).

Furthermore, here are some other tips for serving salmon:

  • Before cooking, brush both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper (3).
  • Use lemon juice, garlic, ginger, thyme, or rosemary to add more flavor without adding calories (3).
  • For the sweet tooth, drizzle with a bit of honey, or honey mustard before cooking (3).

Due to farmed salmon being more highly contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls – a condition which may cause developmental problems in children, cancer, and liver damage – the Oregon Health Authority suggests some tips for you to lower your potential consumptions of PCBs, which include (4):

  • Throw away all organs (4)
  • Remove all skin (4)
  • Cut away the dark fat along the backbone (4)
  • Discard all belly fat along the bottom of the salmon (4)
  • Bake or broil the fish on a rack or grill to eliminate drippings (4)

If you want to achieve that dream body that you have always wanted, you can replace unhealthy empty carbs, fatty meats, and junk foods with salmon. That said, salmon deserves to be a part of your weight loss menu. To get the best results, combine salmon with a low-caloric diet (5).

A Takeaway

To achieve the ideal weight, you need commitment and enthusiasm when it comes to eating the right kinds of foods and exercising. Salmon is a very nutritious fish; unarguably, they come with irreplaceable benefits (5).

If you are reading this now, know that there is hope for you to live a long and healthy life while staying fit – and one good way to do it is by consuming salmon (2). 

References:

  1. https://www.builtlean.com/eat-salmon-lose-weight/
  2. https://www.thelist.com/181211/when-you-eat-salmon-every-day-this-is-what-happens-to-your-body/
  3. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/much-protein-five-ounces-salmon-5285.html
  4. https://www.livestrong.com/article/220260-does-eating-salmon-help-you-lose-weight/
  5. https://www.iuemag.com/u17/fh/does-eating-salmon-help-in-losing-weight.php 

 

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