White Meat vs Dark Meat – No Nonsense Nutrition Facts
Discussions have gone back and forth forever about which poultry cuts are healthier – white meat or dark meat. If consumers’ habits are any indication of which cut is believed to be healthier right now, then white meat chicken wins the argument.
The sale of chicken breast meat outranks any other cuts of poultry. Americans, for the most part, are leaning toward this cut of meat as an attempt to eat healthier. It seems we have become obsessed with the term ‘boneless skinless chicken breasts.’ Whether you like it or not, the term seems to have become a basic ingredient in many recipes, almost as commonly used as the term ‘bring to a boil.’
Now there seems to be a bit of a backlash against this chicken breast or white meat obsession. Chefs, cooks, and foodies around the globe have spoken loud and clear against the American romance with white meat. This cry out against white meat isn’t so much to say all white meat is bad, but to say that dark meat isn’t evil.
Many chefs and other foodies extoll the virtues of chicken dark meat over the white meat of the bird. What they claim is the dark meat far exceeds the white meat in both taste and texture.
This increase in sales of chicken white meat over the dark meat of the chicken has caused the inevitable economic impact. Simply put, the price of white meat went up. When we love something enough to binge on it, the market responds by raising the price to suit our insatiable appetite.
So, we know two things for sure; 1) white meat is consumed more often than dark meat, and 2) white meat is more expensive than dark meat.
Where the debate lies is in the nutritional value. You can find articles that list the benefits of white meat over dark meat, and find equally believable articles listing the same benefits of dark meat over white meat. It’s very confusing.
Rather than try to summarize what I think, or what someone else thinks, I thought I’d just list the nutritional values as given on the nutritional labels for each, white meat and dark meat. Then, you can decide what is most important to you and your diet.
White meat chicken – 1 cup cooked
231 calories, 45 from fat
fat 5 g
dietary fiber 0
protein 43 g
Dark meat chicken – 1 cup cooked
249 calories, 110 from fat
fat 12 g
dietary fiber 0
protein 33 g
After you have compared the nutritional value of both, consider your pocketbook. As I mentioned, due to popular demand, white chicken meat is considerably more expensive than dark chicken meat. Does the lower fat content of white chicken meat justify the added expense? There are some vitamin and mineral differences to take into account, too.
Many nutrition experts recommend we approach chicken meat in the same way we should approach everything else – in moderation. A little bit of dark meat added to a diet of white meat, and a little bit of white meat added to a diet of dark meat, could both be beneficial.
Decide for yourself. Which do you prefer? And then ask yourself why. You may want to cross-over to the other side once in a while and find out what all the fuss is about. Then just relax, dig in, and enjoy that delicious bird!