For years, nutritionists and heart doctors have advised us to remove skin part of chicken before enjoying it for health reasons. While removing the chicken skin before eating it may have some advantages, recent research also reveals that eating it, it’s also not as bad as was originally believed, as some benefits exist for keeping the skin on the chicken as well.
It is true that chicken skin mainly consists of fat and shouldn’t be eaten in excess whether you are watching your weight or not as it contains saturated fat like every other animal food and can increase your cholesterol and heart disease risk but according to the Harvard School of Public Health, majority of fat in chicken skin is actually heart-healthy unsaturated fats.
The myth behind removing the skin chicken before eating it, is that it adds extra calories and saturated fat to your meal but the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database reports that 1 cup of cooked chicken breast without the skin contains 231 calories, but a cup of cooked chicken breast with skin contains 276 calories.
Thus, 1 ounce of chicken skin contains about 3 grams of saturated fat, but provides 8 grams of unsaturated fat and chicken skin contains a good amount of heart healthy unsaturated fat.
In fact, the majority of fat in chicken skin is unsaturated and consumption of unsaturated fat is believed to be associated with lowered bad cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
The American Heart Association suggests limiting saturated fat in your diet to 5 or 6 percent of your total daily calorie intake, which equates to about 13 grams of saturated fat daily when eating 2,000 calories.
It is fine to leave a little skin on your boiled, roasted, grilled or fried chicken, because there is very little difference between a 340-gram skin-on piece and a skinless one when it comes to fat content and calories – about 2.5 grams of saturated fat and 50 calories, to be exact.
The point is this, keeping the skin on your chicken won’t drastically increase your calorie intake or your risk for heart disease when eaten in moderation as part of a well-balanced meal plan, but gorging on large amounts of chicken skin daily is not going to do your heart or waistline any favours.