Is Turkey Good For Weight Loss?

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Find out whether turkey is good for weight loss or not so you can put together a diet that offers more results.

Turkey is reasonably low in calories, high in protein, and high in vitamins and minerals.

In turn, you will likely feel a lot fuller after eating this meat which typically helps with consuming less of foods that are bad for weight loss.

Eating enough protein is also important for preserving and building muscle.

The result of these things is that turkey is typically good for weight loss.

At the same time, you do need to know that just adding turkey on top of the things you already eat may not offer positive results.

It is also good to know that there are better meats for weight loss too.

Calories in turkey

The number of calories in turkey is not everything but it is an important nutrition detail when trying to lose weight.

Before going into the details, it is worth quickly noting that different parts of the turkey and just different animals can vary in nutrition.

At the same time, one example can give you a rough idea of what to expect.

One example of ground turkey contains around 211 calories per 100 grams (1).

This is somewhat higher compared to food groups like vegetables and fruits but at the same time still relatively low.

In simpler words, turkey is not that high in calories which is generally a good thing when trying to lose weight.

Even with this in mind, it can be helpful to look at what macronutrients these calories come from.

One thing you may like to hear already is that turkey is keto-friendly thanks to the zero carbs in it.

Protein in turkey for weight loss

Protein is generally helpful for weight loss so you definitely want to check what turkey offers in this area.

100 grams of ground turkey contain around 26.9 grams of protein (1).

Even compared to other high-protein meats like for example salmon (25.4 grams of protein per 100 grams), turkey is very high in protein (2).

The first reason why this is generally good for weight loss is that protein is great against hunger and cravings.

Since these are common challenges when getting in shape, the protein in turkey can be powerful.

Additionally, eating enough protein is important for preserving/building muscle.

Even if you don’t want to be the biggest guy or gal in the gym, any muscle you do have will help you burn more energy.

So turkey is a great food source for consuming more protein. This will typically help your weight loss efforts a lot.

Micronutrients in turkey

Vitamins and minerals in turkey

It is hard to put the weight loss benefits of the vitamins and minerals in turkey into exact numbers.

However, there are many vitamins and minerals that play at least some role in things like metabolism and sleep.

In turn, it is often smart to take a quick look at what foods offer in this area.

Some of the vitamins and minerals 100 grams of cooked ground turkey contain are (1):

  • Selenium: 40% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Niacin: 40% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 26% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 25% of the DV
  • Zinc: 25% of the DV

And a few other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

It is fair to say that turkey is relatively high in vitamins and minerals.

Consuming enough of these is generally a good idea for weight loss and health.

Will turkey help you lose weight?

Overall, turkey is reasonably low in calories, high in protein, and high in vitamins and minerals.

By eating this meat, you will feel a lot fuller which should help you eat less of foods that are worse for weight loss.

Additionally, all the protein can help you preserve or build more muscle.

In turn, it is fair to say that turkey can help you lose weight.

At the same time, you do need to implement these other diet changes too.

If you just add turkey on top of the things you already eat, you may get the opposite effect.

piece of turkey meat

Different turkey recipes for weight loss

The things above still apply but you also need to keep in mind you can eat turkey in many different shapes, sizes, and recipes.

These do not always have the same effect on weight loss.

To see the best results you want to choose turkey recipes where you combine this meat with healthy ingredients.

Some examples include a turkey salad or simply turkey together with some vegetables and potentially some potatoes.

Two examples of turkey dishes that are suboptimal for weight loss are turkey sandwiches and wraps.

Turkey vs other popular meats for weight loss

Since turkey is not the only option out there, you may wonder how this meat compares to alternatives like chicken and beef for losing weight.

Again, nutrition values can vary slightly but should generally be similar to the examples below.

Turkey vs chicken

Ground chicken is generally slightly lower in calories (201 per 100 grams) and slightly higher in protein (27.1 grams) than ground turkey (3).

When it comes to vitamins and minerals, these meats are similar but chicken does slightly better.

Overall, chicken is slightly better for weight loss than turkey in terms of nutrients.

In practice, you likely just want to go for the option you enjoy the most or can get at a more budget-friendly price.

Turkey vs beef

Next, ground beef contains around 261 calories per 100 grams (4). This is a reasonable amount higher than turkey with its 211 calories.

Additionally, ground beef is slightly lower in protein (25.6 grams) than ground turkey (26.9 grams).

In terms of quantities of vitamins and minerals, turkey and beef are somewhat similar.

The result is that turkey is generally better than beef when trying to lose weight.

Chart of turkey vs chicken vs beef

Overall, the differences between these meats are not too big but potentially relevant.

You can take another look at the nutrition values of turkey, chicken, and beef in the table below (1, 3, 4).

Values Per 100gGround TurkeyGround ChickenGround Beef
Calories211 calories201 calories261 calories
Protein26.9 g27.1 g25.6 g
Chart of turkey vs chicken vs beef for weight loss


Is turkey good for losing belly fat?

Turkey is good for losing belly fat in the sense that this meat is great for losing weight overall.

To lose belly fat specifically, you will have to achieve enough weight loss since targeting efforts generally do not work that well.

Is turkey or chicken better for weight loss?

Chicken is generally slightly better than turkey for weight loss in terms of nutrients.

Keep in mind that your personal taste preferences and budget (should) also influence your weight loss diet.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.