Chicken is the most common meat in the world. It’s a white meat, and therefore comes more highly recommended than red meats, such as beef and lamb, since red meat has been linked with cardiovascular diseases and cancer. However, chicken meat contains a high amount of cholesterol and farmed chicken may contain certain hormones that are injected to fatten the bird up, and should therefore not be consumed in large amounts. In general, though, chicken meat is lower in fat than most types of meat. The fat of a chicken is concentrated largely in the skin, and there is debate whether the skin of the chicken should be avoided. Here are some factors to take into consideration.
Nutritional Value of Chicken Skin
Chicken skin is generally composed of fat and protein. According to nutritionists, 34 grams of boiled chicken skin contains approximately 15 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein and 50 milligrams of cholesterol and sodium combined. In addition, most of the fat in chicken comes from saturated fat that is associated with animal-based oils and fats, and this can be unhealthy for long term consumption. On the average, this amount of chicken skin contains about 160 calories. The nutritional value of chicken skin makes it very nutritious for growing children, who require natural proteins and fat in their diet in order for healthy and proper development. In addition, the presence of high amounts of the collagen protein makes chicken skin beneficial for good skin. According to traditional Chinese recipes, chicken skin is good for creating smooth skin in women.
Chicken skin contains relatively high percentages of fat, and is therefore unsuitable if you are on a weight loss diet. It is also unsuitable if you are obese, and generally not recommended if you are at a high risk of heart disease, since saturated fat tends to clog the arteries. In addition, with the high amount of sodium in chicken skin, it is not recommended if you are suffering from kidney ailments and diabetes. However, this is not to say that it should be removed all the time. Fat is a necessary component of the everyday diet, and is needed for cell membrane construction and cushioning of organs.
Method of Cooking
The method of cooking also determines whether the skin should be removed. The skin itself contains mainly protein, and the fat comes from the layer that separates the skin from the flesh of the chicken. Therefore, the cooking process is important. Boiling and stewing chicken tends to melt away the fat into the water, causing most of the fat to be removed before the meat is served. Deep frying and steaming, on the other hand, tends to seal in the fat of the skin, causing it to stay in a layer under the skin. In such cases, the skin should be removed.