Turkey vs. Chicken: Which is Healthier?
You long ago figured out that you needed to cut back on the red meat and increase the number of vegetables in your diet. Most of us have figured that out by now and many have also added appropriate levels of seafood to create a well-rounded diet that meets all of our nutritional needs. But many of us are still struggling with the white meat questions. Some people don't eat them at all, others swear by them in replacement for their lost red meats. And those who are health-conscious often want to know whether chicken or turkey is the healthier choice.
The truth is that both chicken and turkey are fairly healthy for you when they are prepared properly. Get rid of the skin, eat the white meat, don't fry the meat in the thick oils and don't add sauces or gravies that will add a lot of calories. With those basic preparation rules in mind, you should be able to eat either chicken or turkey without there being too much of a health difference to concern you.
However, if you're really picky about certain dietary things, here are some basic nutritional differences between chicken and turkey that you can explore to select the meat that is right for you:
- When talking about breast meat that is fried or boiled, turkey has almost half the calories of chicken. Additionally, it has about a ninth of the fat calories. Therefore, if you're a person who really can't give up the fried foods, you're going to want to head for the turkey instead of the chicken to save what you can on the calories and fat.
- Despite this, you'll also be losing out on the protein. If what you're seeking is a high protein diet, you should go with the chicken. As prepared discussed on the above point, you'll get almost twice as much protein with the chicken than with the turkey. (See NutritionData for more comparisons like these.)
- If you're a liver eater, you might want to know that chicken liver also has half the calories of turkey liver. It's also got less than a third of the fat.
- According to one study there is more fat in the neck of a chicken than in the neck of a turkey
In summary, chicken tends to be higher in fat and calories but is also higher in protein as long as what you're eating is the meat and not the organs or the neck. But of course it depends on how you prepare your food (if you like fried chicken and grilled turkey, then the numbers are going to differ greatly). The differences between the two are not significant enough to make a major impact upon your diet if white meat is only a small part of your overall caloric intake. However, if you eat some kind of meat on a regular basis then you might want to look more closely at the nutritional information for the kinds of chicken and turkey parts that you're eating and your preparation of those parts. Speaking with a nutritionist is a good next step for the serious dieter.