Choosing the right protein sources when trying to lose weight can be confusing. What about tilapia, is it good for weight loss or fattening?
Tilapia is the common name for a wide variety of mainly freshwater fish species (1). This fish has a rather mild taste which makes tilapia perfect for people who are not that into the taste of fish. On top of that tilapia is generally inexpensive.
Like most fish, many people will benefit in terms of weight loss by eating more tilapia. Find out the nutritional details of tilapia, how to cook tilapia when trying to lose weight, and how it compares to other types of fish to see whether this food deserves a place in your weight loss diet.
Micronutrients in tilapia
The first thing to look at are the micronutrients in tilapia.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of cooked tilapia contains (2):
- Selenium: 78% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Vitamin B12: 31% of the DV
- Niacin: 24% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 20% of the DV
- Potassium: 11% of the DV
- Magnesium: 8% of the DV
- Vitamin B5: 7% of the DV
- Thiamin: 6% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 6% of the DV
And a few other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts. The amount of vitamins and minerals in 100 grams of cooked tilapia is great.
One thing you do have to keep in mind is that you can also consume too much of certain vitamins and minerals. In the case of tilapia fish, you want to keep an eye on selenium.
There is a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) of selenium. In simple words that means that too much selenium can cause negative side effects (3). As an adult you would have to eat over 700 grams of tilapia to reach this UL so not very likely (4).
The amount of selenium is still something to keep in mind if you also eat other foods high in selenium like for example brazil nuts.
Protein in tilapia for weight loss
Another thing in food that can help you on your weight loss journey is the amount of protein in it.
Cooked tilapia contains about 26.1 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, salmon contains around 25.4 grams per 100 grams (5).
Even compared to other fish, tilapia is a great source of protein per 100 grams.
Eating enough protein will also help you prevent muscle loss. Since muscle helps you burn extra calories throughout the day this is a big plus for protein and tilapia for weight loss.
Do keep in mind that overdoing it with protein isn’t good either.
Will tilapia help you lose weight?
To know whether or not you can eat tilapia while trying to lose weight you still need a final piece of the puzzle. The number of calories in tilapia.
Cooked tilapia contains around 128 calories per 100 grams. All of these calories come from fat and protein.
This makes tilapia a great option for low carb diets like the keto diet. Keep in mind that too much protein can also kick you out of ketosis.
There are both lower-calorie fish and higher-calorie fish. Most vegetables and fruits are lower in calories. Even with that in mind tilapia is generally low in calories.
That makes tilapia a great food option when trying to lose weight. It will help you feel fuller without adding too many calories to your diet. This will help you avoid higher-calorie foods. On top of that protein is such a valuable nutrient for weight loss.
In theory, you can overdo it with tilapia in terms of calories and selenium. In that case tilapia could be bad for your health. In reality, you will likely feel too full before you reach that point.
Can you eat tilapia every day?
Nutrition is always a bit of a puzzle in terms of what the perfect diet looks like. It’s a pretty individual thing that depends a lot on your goals.
Even so, most people can eat tilapia every day while moving towards their health goals. Do keep in mind that a wide variety of different foods is a good principle when it comes to nutrition.
How to cook tilapia for weight loss
The best way to cook tilapia for weight loss is boiling it. You can then eat the boiled fillet on its own or as part of healthy recipes like soups and salads.
Baking tilapia in the oven or grilling it is also acceptable when it comes to losing weight. In this case you preferably want to use a healthy cooking oil.
Tilapia vs other fish for weight loss
You now know how good tilapia is for weight loss but how does it compare to certain other fish? Find out how good tilapia is for weight loss vs cod, salmon, catfish, and halibut.
Tilapia vs cod
The first comparison is between tilapia and cod. If you look at the calorie numbers you can see that cod contains fewer calories. Tilapia contains around 128 calories per 100 grams vs the 105 calories per 100 grams of cod (6).
Tilapia contains around 26.1 grams of protein per 100 grams, cod 22.8 grams. These two foods are similar when it comes to vitamins and minerals.
If you would only look at calories you would say cod is better for weight loss than tilapia. The thing is that protein is a very handy nutrient for weight loss. If you struggle with reaching your daily protein goals tilapia may be better.
Tilapia vs salmon
Salmon contains around 25.4 grams of protein per 100 grams so slightly lower higher than tilapia. Salmon contains bigger amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Tilapia will likely be slightly better for weight loss than salmon.
Tilapia vs catfish
Catfish is another popular kind of fish. Catish is a bit higher in calories than tilapia, 152 calories per 100 grams (7).
There is a surprisingly big difference in the amount of protein in these fish. Tilapia has about 26.1 grams of protein per 100 grams vs catfish with 18.7 grams. The amount of vitamins and minerals in these two fish is similar.
Tilapia is very likely better for weight loss than catfish.
Tilapia vs halibut
Lastly there is the comparison between tilapia and halibut. Halibut is higher in calories, 140 calories per 100 grams (8).
Halibut is slightly higher in protein, 26.7 grams per 100 grams. In terms of vitamins and minerals, halibut contains slightly bigger amounts.
All in all, tilapia is likely slightly better for weight loss than halibut.
Chart of tilapia vs other fish
All in all, the differences between these fish won’t make that much of a difference when it comes to losing weight, except maybe catfish being slightly less optimal. If you like all these fish equally you might as well choose the ones that are slightly better for weight loss.
The amount of vitamins and minerals in the foods does matter for weight loss and health but you can’t simplify that in one number. You can check out the numbers for tilapia (2), cod (6), salmon (5), catfish (7), and halibut (8) to compare.
|Values Per 100g||Tilapia||Cod||Salmon||Catfish||Halibut|
|Calories||128 calories||105 calories||182 calories||152 calories||140 calories|
|Protein||26.1 g||22.8 g||25.4 g||18.7 g||26.7 g|