Bodybuilding & Chicken - Eating Dark Meats vs. White Meats

Dark vs White Meat

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If you are someone that prefers dark meat to chicken breast, you might do so because you find the white so dry. As a bodybuilder, though, shouldn't we avoid dark meat altogether? If so, is there any way to make chicken breast more palatable?

This common point is well taken. People who like chicken breast seem to prefer it to any other part of the bird. Those who prefer dark meat tend to complain that breast meat is too dry. The good news is that this isn't necessarily an all-or-nothing issue. You may be able to have your chicken (the consequence of the egg) and eat it, too.

First, dark meat doesn't get much bodybuilding press because white meat is superior in terms of its calorie count per gram of protein. White meat has a little over five calories per gram of protein compared to about seven for dark meat. In other words, dark meat has about 40% more calories than breast meat. All of these numbers are based on skinless roasted chicken. When you eat the skin, the calories climb for both types of meat.

What do the numbers mean? If you're in a cutting phase, you should certainly choose chicken breast over dark meat. However, at other times, dark meat may not be a bad choice, particularly if you remove the skin. A thigh, drumstick and wing without skin are roughly equivalent to a chicken breast with skin in terms of the amount of protein, total fat, saturated fat and calories. The quantity of saturated (bad) fat in both types of chicken meat is relatively small. Eating the skin doubles the amount of saturated fat and more than doubles the total fat. The real culprit in sabotaging a bodybuilding diet is the skin, not the dark meat. If you prefer dark meat, go ahead and eat it. As long as you remove the skin, the amount of fat you're consuming is probably on par or less than what you would get from an equal-size serving of lean beef.

Finally, even if you don't like breast meat, you can find ways to prepare it that make it much less dry. First, you might be overcooking it. You definitely don't want to eat undercooked chicken, but you also don't want to overcook all the juices out of it. Buying boned breast fillets instead of full chicken breasts can help you avoid this. Try tenderizing the meat by pounding it with a meat mallet. (This can also serve as a cardio workout if you do it with enough gusto!) Marinating chicken in a light olive oil and balsamic vinegar mixture can also help tenderize the meat, while adding healthy fats.

Instead of grilling chicken breast, try stewing it with tomato sauce and vegetables in a crock pot or stew pan. This will kill harmful bacteria and keep all the natural juices in the meat.

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