Here are my top 20 foods to eat when cutting.
I’ve split them into foods that are mainly protein, carbs, and fat.
Bear in mind that when cutting, your protein intake needs to remain high – every day. The worst thing that can happen when losing fat is losing muscle. Unfortunately, MOST people who try to reach low body fat percentages end up losing a significant amount of muscle in the process. This doesn’t need to happen (see Total Six Pack Abs for the scientific way to get ripped without losing muscle).
So we’ll start with protein…
(4) Yogurt (natural)
(5) Lean Red Meat
(6) Whey Protein (whey is the best source of protein in terms of its bio-availability. See Top 5 Protein Sources for Building Muscle).
In the USA get Optimum Nutrition Whey. In Europe get Impact Whey from MyProtein.
You’ll need carbs for general energy and for replenishing muscle glycogen levels. But the carbs you choose should be low in sugar as sugar stimulates appetite and the resulting insulin release will cause storage of energy/calories as fat (see ‘how carbs affect weight loss‘ for more on this).
Also, fibrous vegetables are big and provide bulk for the stomach while containing little in the way of calories or carbs. This is so beneficial when trying to avoid hunger. So they go at the top of the list. All guys and girls on my TSPA cutting program are advised to consume vegetables each day and are told which ones work best for this purpose.
(7) Broccoli (see top 10 reasons to include broccoli in your diet)
(8) Cauliflower (try my cauliflower-based “fauxtatoes“)
(10) All salad vegetables (lettuce, cucumber, tomato…)
(11) Sweet potato
(12) Brown Rice
(13) Rolled Oats
(15) All berries (blueberries, strawberries etc.)
Fat. Unlike the MANS diet, when you’re cutting you can’t go crazy with fat intake. Notice how the protein sources above are pretty lean.
However, if you keep your fat intake too low, your anabolic hormone profile will take a hit. This is another reason why a lot of guys lose muscle when cutting. Fat is also satiating, which will allow you to cut without feeling as hungry.
(16) MCT oil (Medium Chain Triglycerides encourage ongoing fat loss by the body. MCT’s are digested quickly and provide fatty acids rapidly to the muscles)
(17) Eggs (Omelettes are great! A simple one is eggs, ham, mushrooms, and cheese. Omelettes are loaded in protein and very low in carbs).
(18) Cheese (use lower fat dairy towards the end of your cut)
(19) Coconut Oil (MyProtein in the UK do a great coconut oil)
(20) Flax Seed (virtually no net carbs and you can cook with ground flax seeds).
NOTE: I’d just like to add that when coming toward the end of the cut and calories are at their lowest, opt for dressings such as:
- Extra light Mayonnaise
Have you any other suggestions? Let me know below.
If I can help you in any way, let me know below in the comments section 😀
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Yes, thanks Mark. Very very helpful.
Mark what is your take on pickled onions? You know the little jars you can get in tesco. Like this https://www.britishcornershop.co.uk/heinz-silverskin-onions-in-sweet-vinegar ok?
@Conor. Thanks 😀
@John. Absolutely fine, mate. Cut them up over a salad 🙂 I love them.
hi mark, im realy getting in to this now, thanks for the great tips, keep them coming
Hi Mark, great advice as usual which I will follow. But what’s your opinion on pure peanut butter and raw nuts, such as almonds, brazil nuts?
@Mark. Will do, buddy.
@Paul. Yes I’m all for them. Great foods. However, when cutting, there’s limits on fat (and carb) intake, as well as total calories. So nuts and nut butters have to be limited, but you can still have them for sure.
Smoked Mackerel all the way…!? I hope. Fat:Protein is 1.14:1.
Good when you need to top up with slightly more fat than protein.
Brown Pasta as well? Have that every meal now.
I was disappointed to find that most pickled goods now contain high fructose corn syrup. Not sure if that matters or not to any of you.
@Richard. Yes, as long as it fits your macros.
@Ted. I don’t think that’s the case over here. What country? The US?
Great article Mark! How would one use MCT oil to its best advantage as far as food timing is concerned?
On the CEREAL KILLERS documentary, the Irish guy seemed to have a much higher fat proportion than this. Could you speak to that?
@Renox. MCT is a fat but is used almost like a carb in that it gives quick energy. People cutting and on low carbs find it very useful. So the best time is before training, just a few grams.
hi mark, i want to know what you think about all the hype concerning flax seeds lignans and especially the Secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG) lignan which is the most abundant one in flax seeds (165759 µg/100 g of flax seeds). i have being researching on this and i found amazing studies and theories about its benefits, but the most interesting one for us bodybuilders is that it can enhance the testosterone/estrogen ratio, i am not gonna go for details here but it can decrease the estrogen effect, increase free testosterone, helping with turning the testosterone into DHT by the 5α-reductase enzyme which cause hair loss in men among others disorders and also stopping the aromatase enzyme from turning the testosterone into estrogen, and all that can really help with a lot of disorders and it’s all good for people wishing transform their bodies. so, mark, what you think about that?
@Jim. In Cereal Killers, Donal is on a Keto diet, which is high fat. He’s showing that it’s a very healthy way to eat. It can also be used by overweight people to help them return to a normal weight.
But getting ripped is a whole different ball game. It’s not an average body fat, rather it’s way below average. Technically speaking, it’s called “underfat” and your doctor wouldn’t recommend it. So when trying to get to very low levels in body fat, lowering carbs is important and helpful, but the total energy intake is also very important. Since we can’t reduce our protein intake, we must take this energy out from fat.
An overweight person will do well on a keto diet, but those looking to get ripped can’t attain their goals while ignoring total calories and/or eating all the fat they wish.
When not cutting, eating high fat is fine when carbs are kept low.
@Younes. I’m never convinced about these things unless there’s a good study to support it. The only study I know of was with mice, and these results very rarely apply to humans. Also, the study was carried out by Nippon Flour Mills. Not exactly independent research. So unless there’s human studies conducted by independent researchers, I’m not convinced. Maybe something will come out in the future.
Mark Tesco’s do a Coconut oil 500ml form Ktc for £2.25 worth buying?
@krs. Someone told me about that a while ago, so I checked into it. It seems like a good product. I can’t see any obvious fault with it. It just makes me a little suspicious at that price.
Thanks a lot for the valuable tips Mark! I have not seen anyone else being this dedicated towards helping others.
@Vineet. Many thanks. I’m happy to help people achieve their goals.