Protein is essential for building strong bones and lean, healthy muscle. If you don’t get enough protein to support creating new cells in the body, you will struggle to repair tissue, and your hormones could be affected too. Chicken is an excellent protein source, but which part is best?
Depending on your goals, you may choose the lean protein in skinless chicken breast, where 80% of the calories come from protein. If you need more fat in your diet, thighs and drumsticks are about 53% protein from calories. Other sources of protein are chicken liver and gizzards.
Chicken is a staple of many bodybuilders looking to build maximum muscle without gaining excess fat. High-protein also foods help with curbing hunger and reducing the loss of muscle when dieting. That’s why chicken is often top of the diet list as a healthy, protein-packed superfood.
Which Part of Chicken Has The Most Protein?
If you’re on a Pollotarian diet or one which allows meat—you’ll already know chicken is an excellent source of protein. It’s also relatively cheap compared to other meats, and is versatile in recipes. However, some parts are a better bang for your buck—so which are best for higher protein?
The Lean Chicken Breast
Chicken breast must be added to your diet if you’re trying to build or retain muscle while on a calorie deficit. Ditch the skin to avoid extra fat, and find ways to add chicken breast to your meals to increase the protein.
A cooked skinless chicken breast of approximately 172 grams will give you a massive 54 grams protein. The total calorie count is around 280 calories, and 80% comes from protein. This high protein ratio makes chicken breast a favorite for athletes watching their protein and fat intake.
Don’t Forget The Gizzard
Unless you’re used to Southern cooking, you’ve probably never considered eating chicken gizzards. However, chicken gizzards are a great source of protein and are high in many essential nutrients. Gizzards are tender and tasty if correctly cooked and can easily be added to curries and soups.
Ensure you properly clean gizzards before cooking them, and boil them for about 15 minutes. 100 grams of gizzard will give you 30 grams of protein, making this a powerhouse choice if you’re looking for an extra protein source from chicken.
Drum Up Protein With Chicken Drumsticks
Next on the protein list is the drumstick, which you can eat with or without the skin. Removing the skin will make this chicken part healthier and have a higher percentage of protein. Have a few skinless cooked drumsticks to add up the protein total.
A single drumstick of about 44 grams will give you 12.4 grams of protein, and 70% of the 76 calories in the average drumstick come from protein. If you leave the skin on, the calorie count goes up to 1123, and only 53% of that will be protein.
Succulent Chicken Thighs
Choose the thigh if you’re looking for a cheaper cut with a decent protein punch. Chicken thigh is dark meat compared to white breast, and it has a higher fat content, making it tastier.
Remove the skin to reduce the fat, and improve the protein-to-fat ratio. A cooked, skinless chicken thigh weight about 50 grams will have 13.5 grams of protein. Since 53% of the calories in thighs come from protein, it is not as high as chicken breast.
Iron-Rich Chicken Liver
Chicken liver is a fantastic source of not only protein, iron, vitamins, and selenium. It’s got such a high iron percentage that you don’t need to eat it every day, and you can use it as a change from your regular chicken cuts. It’s also an inexpensive protein source.
Cook up 100 grams of chicken liver to get 16.9 grams of protein. Of the 116 calories, 34% of that comes from protein. Chicken liver is also very rich in vitamin A and vitamin C, making liver an excellent superfood to add to your diet.
Spicy Chicken Wings
Chicken wings are usually served with the skin, so choose these if you need to keep your fat content higher. They’re the smallest meat section, and you’ll need to eat a few wings to get a good amount of protein.
Chicken wings do not have as much meat on them as other parts, and there is a large amount of bone or gristle. A single chicken wing is around 99 calories and about 6.4 grams of protein. Avoid extra dips and batters if you want to keep your meal healthy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Most Nutritious Part Of A Chicken?
Different parts of a chicken will meet different nutritional needs. For example, if you want to add more iron and vitamins to your diet, chicken liver is a good choice, while gizzards are also high in iron and protein.
One of the best chicken protein sources is chicken breast. It is easy to find, low in fat, and is a versatile cut. It also contains vitamin B12, Tryptophan, Choline, Zinc, Iron, and Copper.
Are Chicken Thighs High In Protein?
Chicken thighs are high in protein and a good choice when adding more protein to your diet. However, chicken thighs have nearly three times the fat content of breasts, making them less desirable if you are watching your fat intake.
Some people prefer the taste of thighs and find skinless chicken breast too bland. If you want the rich taste of thigh meat with a lower fat content, you might prefer to swap your chicken thighs out for turkey.
Which Meat Is Highest In Protein?
When looking for the highest protein count in meat, you probably think you’ll need to switch to steak. However, gram for gram, lean chicken breast has the highest portion of protein compared to other meats.
When chicken is cooled in chill tanks, they naturally absorb some water. The USDA regulates how much water can be absorbed; water should not make up more than 8% of their body weight. This water content can affect the percentage of protein in your chicken.
Which Part Of A Chicken Has Less Protein?
Chicken wings will offer you the least amount of protein, and 3.5 ounces will provide under 13.5 grams. Chicken wings are often battered and fried or served with high-calorie, sticky dips and marinades. While they can make tasty snacks, chicken wings shouldn’t be your go-to for a high-protein meal.
Chicken wings are also usually served with the skin still on, which adds to the saturated fat content, making them the least healthy part of the chicken.
Which parts of the chicken have the most protein?
The leanest cut of chicken is the chicken breast, which contains the highest amount of protein compared to other cuts. Skinless chicken breast has a protein to fat ratio of 9:1, making it ideal for individuals looking to maintain muscle mass, expedite the recovery process, and facilitate weight loss.
Are chicken thighs healthier than breasts?
Chicken breasts are healthier than chicken thighs in terms of nutrition. According to the Australian Chicken Meat Federation, skinless chicken breast contains 22.3g of protein and 1.6g of fat per 100g, while skinless chicken thigh contains 17.5g of protein and 8.4g of fat per 100g.
Which meat is highest in protein?
The meat highest in protein is chicken breast and lean cuts of beef, which have high protein-per-gram ratios. Other solid high-protein options include turkey breast, bison, venison, pork tenderloin, fish, chicken drumsticks, lean beef, lamb, and chicken thigh.
Does chicken breast or eggs have more protein?
Chicken breast contains double the amount of protein per serving compared to eggs, making it the superior choice in terms of protein content. Additionally, chicken breast has lower cholesterol levels than eggs, making it a healthier option overall.
What has more protein chicken breast or steak?
Chicken breast has more protein than steak. In a 200g serving, chicken breast contains 48g of protein, while steak contains 43g of protein. Additionally, chicken breast has lower calorie content and saturated fat compared to steak.
Is chicken breast high in protein?
Chicken breast is indeed high in protein. It is one of the most frequently consumed foods that are rich in protein. The leanest part of the chicken is the breast. If you have a serving of roasted, skinless chicken breast weighing about 3 ounces (or 85 grams), you can expect to get approximately 27 grams of protein and 140 calories from it.
Are skinless chicken thighs healthy?
Skinless chicken thighs are a healthy option due to their lower fat content, containing only 6.8g per serving when compared to the original version with the skin. Along with their favorable macro profile, chicken thighs also provide higher amounts of essential micronutrients like iron and zinc compared to chicken breasts.
How much protein should I eat to gain muscle?
The recommended protein intake for individuals aiming to gain muscle mass while engaging in physical activity, such as weightlifting or training for a running or cycling event, is a range of 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, or 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight.
What percentage of chicken breast is protein?
The percentage of protein in chicken breast is approximately 80%, while the fat content is about 20%.
What is the most nutritious part of a chicken?
The most nutritious part of a chicken is the chicken breast, which contains fewer calories compared to other parts of the chicken and is rich in protein. This is why many bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts incorporate a substantial amount of chicken breast into their protein-focused and healthy diets.
What is the unhealthiest part of a chicken?
The unhealthiest part of a chicken is the alimentary system, which includes the trachea, oesophagus, crop, proventriculus, gall bladder, spleen, pancreas, caeca, and intestines.
What is healthier chicken breast or thigh?
Chicken breast is generally healthier than chicken thigh if you are aiming to lose weight or following a low-fat diet. This is because chicken breast is much leaner compared to chicken thighs. If you want to reduce the fat content in chicken thighs, you can opt for skinless ones as they contain fewer calories and fat.
Are chicken gizzards good for you?
Chicken gizzards are beneficial for your health. They are packed with protein and contribute to good digestion. Additionally, they are a rich source of vitamins, providing your body with essential nutrients. It is worth noting that a gizzard refers to the stomach of birds, where all these beneficial nutrients are found.
Can I eat chicken breast everyday?
Eating chicken breast every day can be beneficial for muscle building and natural protein intake. Chicken is rich in protein, making it a great choice for those who exercise regularly. It is also easily digestible and has a pleasant texture. Incorporating chicken into your daily diet can contribute to faster and stronger body development.
What has more protein chicken or eggs?
Chicken contains double the amount of protein than eggs per serving, making it the clear winner in terms of protein content. Both chicken and eggs are low calorie and high protein options.
Why is chicken breast better than thigh?
Chicken breast is considered better than thigh due to its higher content of certain B vitamins and minerals. It is worth noting that chicken thighs contain higher amounts of vitamin B12, as mentioned by the source. Additionally, chicken thighs are generally more affordable per pound. On the other hand, cooking chicken breasts can be difficult as they have a tendency to become dry and overcooked.
What foods is highest in protein?
The highest protein foods include lean meats such as beef, lamb, veal, pork, and kangaroo, as well as poultry like chicken, turkey, duck, emu, goose, and bush birds. Additionally, fish and seafood such as fish, prawns, crab, lobster, mussels, oysters, scallops, and clams are also rich in protein. Eggs and dairy products like milk, yoghurt (especially Greek yoghurt), and cheese (especially cottage cheese) are also excellent sources of protein.
What is healthier chicken thighs or chicken breast?
Chicken breast is generally considered healthier than chicken thighs, especially if you are trying to lose weight or following a low-fat diet. This is because chicken breast is much leaner compared to chicken thighs. If you want to reduce the fat content in chicken thighs, you can opt for skinless ones as they have fewer calories and less fat.
What part of chicken is the least healthy?
The least healthy part of chicken to consume is the skin, as it is high in saturated fat. While dark meat chicken does contain more unsaturated fat compared to light meat chicken, it also has a higher amount of saturated fat, although the quantity is still relatively low.
What chicken parts have the most protein and lowest fat?
The chicken part with the highest protein content and lowest fat is boneless chicken breast without skin. This particular cut is highly favored by fitness enthusiasts and individuals on a weight loss journey. Among the various chicken parts, the breast is the most popular choice, as it provides a sought-after lean protein source.
Is bone in chicken healthier than boneless?
Boneless skinless chicken breast is a healthier choice compared to bone-in skin-on chicken breast in terms of nutrition. This is due to the fact that the skin contains a considerable amount of fat, which can elevate the calorie content of the meal.
How long does it take to digest protein from chicken?
The digestion process of protein from chicken typically takes around 2 to 6 hours in the stomach and small intestine. Nevertheless, certain research indicates that meals with high fat or protein content, like those including chicken, might require more time for complete digestion by the digestive system.
Why do bodybuilders prefer chicken breast or thighs?
Bodybuilders prefer chicken breast or thighs because the lean chicken breast contains a higher amount of protein per weight, making it a suitable choice for individuals aiming to lose weight, preserve muscle mass, and enhance recovery. On the other hand, the thigh, drumstick, and wings, which are fattier cuts, have a greater calorie content, making them more beneficial for those seeking to build muscle or increase weight.
Which is healthier chicken thighs or drumsticks?
Chicken thighs and drumsticks have different nutritional profiles. Chicken drumsticks are slightly less fatty than thighs but have a lower protein content. On the other hand, chicken thighs contain more fat than drumsticks but have a higher protein count. Ultimately, the decision between the two depends on personal preference in terms of taste and nutritional value.
Skinless chicken breast is the number one choice for a chicken part that packs the most protein while still being lean and healthy. It’s easy to fit chicken breast into most diets, and it is a versatile meat that can be served cold, roasted, in stews, stir-fries, and curries.
While thighs are also good sources of protein, their high-fat content can make them a problem if you are on a strict diet. Even without the skin, they are a fattier cut than the chicken breast. Consider adding chicken livers and gizzards to your diet, as they are also excellent sources of proteins and vitamins while low in fat.