South Beach Diet - Do you eat the skin?

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10-26-2007, 11:06 AM
I have found buying rotisserie chickens and baked chickens from the deli help me out a lot during the week.
However, I do eat the skin. Particularly on the breast. I don't eat the legs or the wings, but I do use wing meat if needed. It hasn't affected my weight loss thus far.

Is this bad? Thoughts?


10-26-2007, 11:19 AM
I avoid the skin. But I think we each have to figure out what we are and aren't willing to do without and what works. If it hasn't affected your loss, then I wouldn't worry. If your loss starts to slow eventually and you want to kick things up again, you may want to look at skipping the skin. I don't care for it, so it doesn't bother me to not eat it, but there are other things I haven't wanted to give up - like Kashi waffles, that don't strictly meet SB guidelines. I usually buy lean ground beef, but sometimes I get regular and drain it or rinse it after cooking. Eventually I think I may transition to ground turkey completely. Right now, I don't worry too much about percentage of fat intake, as long as they are healthy fats. I figure eventually, I'll need to take a good look at that if I want to continue to lose. It actually gives me some comfort to know that there are places I can still make improvements if I plateau. This is just my opinion though, some of the chicks may feel otherwise.

10-26-2007, 11:43 AM
I don't eat chicken skin, but I will undoubtedly be nibbiling on turkey skin on Thanksgiving. I like the skin best when I haven't have to prepare the bird myself.

Schmoodle- I've gone all-turkey instead of beef. It's not strictly for health reasons though, lean beef was close to $3.50 a pound and I can get frozen Jennie-O turkey for $1.37 a pound. I really like this brand of ground turkey, and they make some great lowfat turkey sausage too. It comes in those "tube" thingys packaged in 1 pound tubes. Makes measuring easy too.

10-26-2007, 12:18 PM
I don't eat skin, but mainly because I think its kinda gross. I have a hard enough time as it is trying not to think that it is an animal I am eating :)

10-26-2007, 12:20 PM
Ok. So skin is out. But it is such a time saver to buy the chicken alredy prepared. And cheaper in some sense...
I'll try the chicken breasts next week and see how that goes.

Anyone have a good suggestion for preparing them?

10-26-2007, 12:39 PM
You can still make a whole chicken or buy a prepared one and just not eat the skin. I make whole chickens quite often and do not eat the skin.

One thing to consider with prepared chickens is that they probably put butter on the chicken when they make it. When I prepare my own, I use cooking spray and spices, not adding any calories to the chicken.

10-26-2007, 01:11 PM
Rutisserie chickens are often lower in fat than you could make it at home, because on the rotisserie the fat drips off as the bird cooks, and the skin gets very crisp, all around the bird. At home, if you don't have some kind of rack, the bottom of the bird sits in the pan juices which are largely the melted fat off the bird. It can be hard to cook the bird until the skin is crispy without drying out the white meat

If the skin is soft, I don't eat it, but if it is crispy, I often do eat some of it. It's much the same as the calories in bacon. A slice of bacon has about 150 calories before cooking. Cooked 'til crisp, the same slice has about 50 calories. Ounce for ounce, crisp chicken skin would have about the same calories as crisp bacon, so it's unlikely that you would be eating more than 100 calories in skin. Not the biggest diet battle to fight.

Shy Moment
10-26-2007, 01:34 PM
Well darn learn something new everyday. I didn't know that bacon lost its fat as it got crispier. Makes perfect sense but never thought about it. I like my bacon nice and crispy. Maybe I will at a bit more bacon into my diet thanks :).

I also make my chicken or turkey on a rack, breast side down. Yes, if the skin is crispy you can eat some if not leave it alone.

You sound like me. I like meat, don't get me wrong but generally have a hard time eating it if I think about it being an animal lol. The skin is just nasty to me most of the time lol.

I do like to take chicken breasts, bread them with a very very low fat breading. Spray a pan with oil place the chicken breasts in the pan and then pray them with oil. Nice fried chicken without all the fat. Doesn't take long to make either.

Not all chicken breasts are the same. I was looking at fresh and at the store brand frozen way different fat content. I get frozen ones at save a lot. 3 or 4 oz sizes 1 gram of fat. Can't want much more than that.

10-26-2007, 03:16 PM
Okay, so if all you care about is calories here, then eating the skin, if it doesn't hurt your weightloss, is fine. :shrug: Same with bacon.

However, if you are at all concerned with your health, your heart, and your cholesterol levels, you definitely shouldn't eat the skin. Rotisserie chicken breast has much more fat in it than a boneless, skinless chicken breast does--the fat soaks in somewhat during cooking. So, you're already getting more fat (and it's the bad kind: saturated)--eating the skin just adds even more bad fat into your diet. If you care about your health, you need to avoid eating the skin. I like the crispy bits too :T, but I avoid them now.

As for bacon, yes, some of the fat does cook off (you can see it in the pan), but not all. It's a particularly fatty cut of meat and irregardles of the calories is really bad for your heart and health. Try turkey bacon, as Dr. A suggests, which is leaner (though it still has saturated fat) for those times when you really want some bacon. Otherwise, try to stick to the healthier oils, if you are worrying about your health.

10-26-2007, 04:06 PM
I don't eat the skin, but mostly because I think it's really gross. :lol:

Dixie: I'm SO jealous. We can't get turkey anything unless it's Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year I'm going to buy two turkeys and have them ground at the processing plant in town. It really is a bummer. The closest place to buy turkey breasts, ground, etc. "off season" is three hours away. Bleh.

10-26-2007, 04:11 PM
Considering I eat chicken skin about once every three months, and bacon in a blt about twice a year, there really isn't any heart health risks. Any food item no matter how unhealthy if eaten regularly, can be incorporated into a healthy diet if eaten occasionally. No single portion matters as much as the big picture.

I don't use margarine. I use butter. I buy a pound and freeze three sticks. If I don't freeze it, it will go bad with fridge odors long before I'm ready for the next stick. I would estimate that I use less than 1 tablespoon a week, hardly a cardiac risk.

Last week I made a cassoulet type dish in the huge crockpot. I used one chicken thigh, skin and all and 1/2 pound of lean italian sausage (both heart health nightmares if eaten regularly and in large portions). Also in the recipe was 3/4 cup each of onions, celery, and carrot. About 1.5 lb of dried beans. 1/2 cup each of wheat beries, spelt berries, and wild rice, five cloves of garlic and other seasonings. It made enough for dinner guests and a couple days of leftovers. All in all about 16 servings, I would guestimate. So, 1/16 of a chicken thigh, and 1/4 oz of pork sausage isn't going to be a diet disaster by any definition.

I think it's important to use common sense. If you're eating chicken every day, then of course remove the skin, but a chicken breast with a 2 x 2 inch piece of skin, is still a better choice than almost any cut of beef or pork.

10-29-2007, 11:00 AM
Colleen, you're totally right--moderation is the key. I love the magazine Cooking Light. Several years ago, they changed from avoiding certain foods (like bacon, heavy cream, etc.) to using them in small amounts, like in your cassoulet. They can bring great flavor to dishes!

However, for people with dangerous cholesterol levels who are using SBD primarily to help with their condition (in addition to trying to lose weight), it would be better to avoid the skin. You can even get skinless chicken thighs now, if you want meat with more flavor. :D

As for butter, I've seen several articles lately saying that it's actually much more beneficial than they thought. You might want to check out an article on food myths that Sunnybunny posted ( us (the link is in the first post).

10-29-2007, 05:08 PM
Moderation is a hard sell in this country. Absolutes are easier, at least in principle, to wrap our minds around. We want a list of things we can eat, and things we can't. The problem is, with rigid expectations comes inevitable failure. And since we don't "do" moderation well, often we tend to fail in a big way.

What I love about South Beach is at it's core it is a diet of moderation, but anyone can turn it into a diet of absolutes by reducing it to a list of "good" foods on one hand and a list of "bad" on the other. If it would stop there, it wouldn't be a tragedy, but often when we label a food as "bad," we often think of ourselves as "bad" if we eat them. A cycle of guilt and temptation can create very disordered thinking and behavior when it comes to food.

Some people feel the need to aim for "pefection." Some of them can actually succeed at it, but I think most people that aim for perfection, inevitably fail. A good number can't deal with failure well and turn it into a dysfunctional and damaging cycle.

I think if we could stress an attitude of "progress not perfection" more people would succeed, with far less stress.