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Friday, November 18, 2011

Eat The Dark Meat!

Thanksgiving is almost upon us.  If you haven't bought your turkey yet, you are probably picking one up this weekend.  If you've paid attention when grocery shopping lately you have noticed there are many "healthier" turkey options on the store shelves.

It seems to be common knowledge the white meat of a turkey is healthier for you than dark meat.  Most, if not all, the turkey bought in stores today is genetically modified in order to increase the size of the breast.  Grocery stores, such as Wegmans, have increased their selection of individually packaged turkey breasts.


Why buy that whole turkey if you aren't going to eat that "bad for you" dark meat anyway?

Green Ridge Farm took the white meat love affair to a whole new level with their turkey breast shaped like an entire turkey.
For those of us who don't want to kill an animal ourselves and eat it, but would rather eat an animal killed by somebody else, breast torn off then glued back together to form what the animal used to look like then eat it.  Yummy!

I have a secret to tell you.  The dark meat is every bit as good for you as the white meat.  If not better!  Here's a breakdown of the two...


White Meat  (300 Calories, 7oz)
Dark Meat  (300 Calories, 5oz)
Fat
12.8
16.3g
Saturated
3.6
4.9g
Polyunsaturated
3.1
4.4g
Monounsaturated
4.4
5.2g
Cholesterol
117mg
126g
Carbohydrate
0g
0g
Protein
44g
39g
Niacin
48%
25%
Vitamin B6
36%
23%
Phosphorus
32%
28%
Selenium
64%
76%
Iron
12%
18%
Riboflavin
12%
20%
Magnesium
10%
8%
Copper
4%
11%
Zinc
21%
39%

If you compare the two types of meat on a calorie to calorie basis, you will find they are very similar.  The two areas people seem to be most concerned about are the fat and cholesterol content of dark meat.  As you can see above, dark meat has merely 9g more cholesterol, which is a negligible amount.  Plus, it is more commonly recognized that dietary cholesterol does not lead to an increase in blood serum cholesterol.  So why worry about cholesterol content anyway?

The fat content in dark meat is higher than in white meat.  But why is that a bad thing?  You will notice saturated fat, which everybody seems to be frightened of (for some odd reason; when studies show saturated fat intake has nothing to do with heart disease but trans fats are really the culprit), is higher by 1.3g.  You will also notice that unsaturated fats, which everybody loves for the heart friendly benefits!, is higher by a total of 2.1g.  That seems to be a pretty good trade off to me!

The vitamin and mineral content seems to be pretty even.  White meat has higher amounts of some nutrients, such as Niacin and Vitamin B6, while dark meat has higher amounts of other nutrients, such as Riboflavin and Zinc.  You are actually getting more nutrients on a per ounce basis with dark meat than white.

Don't be afraid to dig into that dark meat this Thanksgiving.  And please don't buy into the glued together turkey breast highlighted above.  Just because it's shaped like a turkey doesn't make it a turkey!

4 comments:

HEY MIKE, WHAT ARE WE HAVING FOR THANKSGIVING DINNER?

There will be two turkeys. Shrimp, cheese and olives for appetizers. I will be having some squash and sweet potatoes with my turkey. You better be bringing the oysters! I will leave the wine and desert for the rest of you!

Mike,Do you ever watch Dr.Oz? He had on a personal trainer, Drew Manning, who went from fit to fat in 6 months (gained 70 lbs.)by eating the "typical American diet" (he wanted to experience what his clients had to deal with). He is now going back to exercising and a diet that he recommends for his clients. It will be interesting to follow him. Keep up the good work and have a nice Thanksgiving! (I've never done a blog)

@Carole I have actually written about Drew in the past. You can view the post by following this link (http://www.fitsyracuse.com/2011/10/drew-manning-goes-from-fit-to-obese-in.html). Thanks for reading my blog. Happy Thanksgiving!

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