People nowadays compare chicken breast nutrition with chicken legs nutrition. This is the worst thing that has ever happened in human history.
I distinctly remember relishing chicken legs more than any other part of the chicken. And, that’s what most Indians have grown up eating. Chicken breast? Where the hell did this come into the picture?
I could decipher the puzzle about the chicken breast issue when I started doing my research in the field of historical development of bodybuilding and strength training. Never it had happened anywhere in the world, in its entire history, that people threw away certain parts of an animal before consuming it (except for the parts to be discarded like the hair, feathers, feet, etc.). People never checked chicken breast nutrition, chicken legs nutrition, chicken breast calories, etc before consuming chicken.
The hunting of an animal was an art and required tremendous skills and techniques. Humans started hunting animals for food quite early in evolution, and bigger the animal, the more the meat they had for consumption, which meant better survival. But bigger the animal, more difficult was to hunt it, and more the skills and hard work needed.
Remember, the ultimate aim of human species is not to have six packs abs and have fat free and gluten-free meals; but simply one thing: that’s survival. Anything which interfered in this natural process of human species was unacceptable to the body. This is how our body is designed and we still carry those genes of our hunter-gatherer forefathers.
Once, a big animal was hunted, every part was used. Even the skin was used for clothing (and is still being used for leather). Throwing away a part of the animal because it had a bit fatter, and consuming other parts because they are leaner, was something their mental faculties could never even comprehend, until recently, when the false hoax of ‘high cholesterol causing heart disease’ and ‘high saturated fat leading to rise in cholesterol’ hypothesis, started taking hold. Due to this myth from the west, the entire senseless world went into a nose dive to the world of stupidity.
Such myths have been busted long back scientifically, but unfortunately, these myths will take decades to actually go off from the minds of people. The stupid scare of fat in the diet was so much that, people started removing even an iota of fat from their meals. Did they suffer? Massively. Are they still suffering? Yes, absolutely. Despite of clear evidence on the dangers of the low-fat diet, and the benefits of saturated fats in your diet, people still cling on to the old concepts of eating low-fat diets.
One of the primary ones being, eating chicken breasts out of the whole chicken, because its low in fat. Most of the people say chicken breast fat percentage is less than other parts of the chicken. This is the most stupid thing one can do when consuming animal meat. Most Indians loved their chicken legs and still do. But somehow the youngsters and now even the people who loved chicken legs have shifted on the chicken breasts, simply because of the scare of heart disease.
SOURCE: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/)
Chicken is a rich source of dietary protein, though not inexpensive, as most western articles claim to be. It depends on country to country. Many people believe that when it comes to calorie calculation and weight loss, then the leanest part of the chicken vs the other parts will make a difference. No, it won’t do anything. There are not much differences in chicken breast calories and chicken legs calories. You don’t get fat because you are eating 5-10 cal extra. It’s due to a big calorie surplus for a very long time, combined with multiple other reasons like sedentarism and lifestyle stresses.
The chicken leg has two parts — the thigh and the drumstick. The drumstick is the lower part of the chicken leg, also known as the calf, which Indians call as the ‘leg piece’. If we actually compare the amount of fat in the chicken breasts and leg, don’t be alarmed by the numbers, because the quality of fat in the chicken is very good quality fat. Though saturated fat is absolutely healthy, even if you consider it unhealthy, the difference is a meager 0.5 grams. Also, the total fat percentage just differs by 2grams. Whereas, the protein in chicken breast compared to legs also differs by just 2-3 grams.
In terms of flavor, the legs win hands down. Because of the naturally higher good fat content, they have a much more intense flavor than the breasts. Chicken thighs are also called as the dark meat because the chicken’s legs are more active and contain more myoglobin. This molecule helps provide active muscles with oxygen and also makes them darker. Even price-wise, chicken legs in most places are cheaper.
But what is not considered is the overall micronutrient content of the thighs and the breasts. According to Livestrong.com, the serving of chicken thigh meat provides you with 30 percent of the daily value for niacin, 15 percent of the DV for phosphorus, vitamin B-6 and zinc and 10 percent of the DV for riboflavin. The chicken breast meat contains less of some micronutrients, providing only 6 percent of the DV for zinc and riboflavin, but more of others, providing 60 percent of the DV for niacin, 25 percent of the DV for vitamin B-6 and 20 percent of the DV for phosphorus.
Now, you would not like to give up the tastier and mineral-rich chicken legs because you are getting 2 grams of less fat and the same amount of more protein. Chicken breast nutrition is not more than other parts of chicken.
Suddenly, you could see youngsters shouting chicken breasts even in their dreams. One thing is true, if the west sells you packaged poop, and tell you it helps lose weight, believe me, most people will eat it. When you speak to guys, it sounds as if the only part of the chicken worth eating is breast. Rest everything is to be discarded. But if you ask them why then almost everyone has a single reply, it has less fat and more protein. But, not one person knows how much is the difference.
The final take, relish the entire chicken. Every part of the chicken has its own flavor. The super calorie-conscious are better off eating chicken without the skin, in terms of parts, you can have any part. What will matter is the total amount of chicken in a day you are consuming. That’s also true for the total number of overall calories you consume in a day.