As you get started on your medical weight loss plan, you will notice something: We’re really big on protein! But of course, many sources of protein are looking pretty pricey these days. Unless you’re vegetarian or vegan, you might rely upon meats like beef, chicken, and turkey to meet your protein quota. And with beef prices climbing, you’re tempted to opt for chicken more and more often. So that leaves another choice to make: Is white meat or dark meat healthier? Or does it matter which one you choose?
Calories. First, let’s look at the calorie breakdown between white and dark meat. Just three ounces of white chicken meat contains 147 calories, whereas dark meat contains 174 calories.
Protein. In the same serving of chicken, white meat contains 26 grams of protein, whereas dark meat contains 23 grams.
Fat. As for fat, you might not be surprised to learn that a three-ounce serving of white chicken meat contains one gram of fat, but the same size serving of dark meat contains two grams.
As you can see, white chicken meat is a bit lower in calories, and that’s because it’s leaner (less fatty) than dark chicken meat.
But wait! That’s not the end of the story. Yes, we try to stay low-calorie when following a medical weight loss plan. And white chicken meat even contains more of that all-important protein. But dark meat is actually a bit more nutrient dense! Because it’s higher in fat, dark meat contains about twice as much omega-3 fatty acids as white meat, and the higher myoglobin content means dark meat packs more iron and zinc.
So which one should you choose? We say, why not both? You might wish to opt for white chicken meat a bit more often, since it’s lower in calories and higher in protein. But dark chicken meat does contain valuable nutrients that deserve a place in your diet. Don’t be afraid to mix it up.
And of course, call us if you have any questions about the protein or caloric requirements of your medical weight loss plan, or need any other support. Together we will establish a nutrition strategy that meets your needs while helping you reach your goals.