Chicken VS. Beef

By: Alyssa Coggins

Nutrients

  1. Chicken and turkey are sometimes lower in fat than beef or pork. But not always. The legs, thighs, and wings are higher in fat than the breast meat, and all poultry is high in fat if you leave the skin on. The amount of fat in ground meat and sausages varies. So, if you’re trying to cut back on fat, be sure to check the label and don’t make any assumptions.

  2. Lean cuts of pork and beef such as pork tenderloin, pork loin roast, sirloin steak, or flank steak are just as healthful as lean cuts of chicken and turkey. In fact, they often contain more of certain nutrients, including heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

  3. Just because it’s made of turkey doesn’t automatically make it healthy. If it’s loaded with fat, salt, and/or preservatives—I don’t care if it’s made with wheatgrass and organic sunbeams—it’s not exactly health food.

Cooking Methods

1. Minimize Fat

As you might expect, ounce for ounce cooking oils and fats add more calories than any other ingredient. As opposed to adding butter, margarine, oil, or meat drippings to your dish, use cooking sprays to prevent sticking, meat broths to add flavor, and unsweetened applesauce to replace half of the fat in baked goods.



2. Choose Lean Meats and Poultry Begin with a lean cut of meat or poultry. Lean cuts of meat include round, loin, and sirloin. Most people think that by choosing poultry they are choosing a lower calorie alternative, but keep in mind this is only true if you select white meat from the breast without the skin.



3. Choose the Right Cooking Method Avoid frying, sauteing, and the dreaded deep fat fryer which requires a lot of added oil. Instead stick with baking, broiling, grilling, poaching, or steaming, which all use little, if any, added fat. Broiling and grilling are terrific for meats because the drippings are allowed to fall away from the food while cooking. About.com's Guide to Low Fat Cooking offers more advice about cooking methods.

White VS. Dark poultry

Dark Meat

Simply speaking, dark meats are dark because the muscles are used more (think drumsticks vs. breast meat). They have more myoglobin proteins, which help ship oxygen to your muscle cells.

When dark meat is cooked, the myoglobins turn into metmyoglobins, which are very high in iron.

White Meat

White meat contains glycogen, which is a polysaccharide of glucose, an animal starch. Animal starch is stored in your liver, then broken down into glucose when it’s needed by the white muscle.

Nutritional Differences

Dark meat contains more zinc, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, vitamins B6 and B12, amino acids, and iron than white meat. Dark meats also contain more saturated fats, along with omega-3 and omega-6 fats.