Know your chicken — here’s a great guide

As red meat has become demonized because of high fat content in recent years, people are turning more and more to chicken, and specifically lower-fat white meat chicken. I’ve been eating more chicken since my 2012 angioplasty on orders from my nutritionists, leading me to continually search for ways to bring some taste to white-meat chicken.chickgravy

When you go shopping for chicken, remember all chicken is not the same and a lot of the things you think you know about what makes for healthy chicken may be plain wrong. Cooking Light recently put out a great overview of the chicken world, The Definitive Guide to Healthy Chicken, which I recommend you read.

It goes after the myths about chickens, which far too many people believe.

“The first step is knowing which labels to ignore, and there are an awful lot of them “Natural,” “hormone-free,” and “farm-raised” may sound good, but they can all be applied to every chicken in the market. “Natural” doesn’t have an official definition, and just means “minimally processed.” No chickens are given hormones because they’re prohibited, and all chickens are raised on farms,” Cooking Light writes.

And for those of you who only buy organic, read this from Cooking Light: “Organic chickens were raised according to comprehensive USDA specifications, which include eating organic feed. There may be environmental benefits, as organic farming minimizes pollution, but organic chickens do not have a nutritional advantage, though we did find them to be more robust in flavor.”

Sorry organic chicken lovers, you cans till buy it for the taste, or if you feel it helps the environment overall, but don’t expect massive nutritional benefits.



One thought on “Know your chicken — here’s a great guide

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  1. Hi, John – I’m surprised you didn’t mention the sodium issue! (Cooking Light didn’t either–they said several times that “no chicken at your market is any better for you—or any worse—than any other” but that’s just not true for people concerned with sodium. I only recently discovered that kosher chickens are always higher in sodium because salt is used in the koshering process. Also, even within regular brands there can be big differences in sodium. For example, I discovered that the “Natural” version of Perdue’s Perfect Portions don’t have added salt, but the regular plain Perfect Portions do.

    I actually blogged about the issue here:

    Have a good holiday!

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