Food, Health and Nutrition: Where Does Chicken Fit ?

AUSTRALIA - A new report launched in Australian Family Physician Journal says that chicken is loaded with nutrition and not saturated fat.
calendar icon 21 May 2008
clock icon 4 minute read

The report: “Food, Health and Nutrition: Where Does Chicken Fit" by the University of Wollongong’s Smart Foods Centre1 shows in an up-to-date comparison that chicken is not only one of the leanest proteins and has a favourable ratio of unsaturated to saturated fatty acids, but also delivers more essential vitamins and minerals than generally recognised.

With 71 per cent of GPs discussing nutrition with patients several times a day and with Medicare reporting a staggering 638 per cent increased use of dieticians in Australia over the last three years, the report aims to broaden the understanding of where chicken fits in the Australian diet, how it is produced in this country and how it contributes to the health of Australians.

According to Dr Andreas Dubs, Executive Director of the Australian Chicken Meat Federation “The report provides strong evidence for GPs, other health care professionals and consumers across the board to recommend chicken as part of a healthy diet. The link between diet and health is important, given the prevalence of diet related disease, including obesity, and consumers need to be able to discriminate between foods based on their nutritional contribution to their daily diet.

Australian chicken is recognised as a low fat, lean protein source and an important part of a well balanced diet. The fact that it is nutrient rich in vitamins and minerals and contains all nine essential amino acids is not as well recognised by health care professionals or consumers and this report aims to redress this.”

Compared to other stir-fried meats, lean chicken breast has the lowest total fat content and one of the lowest levels of saturated fatty acid. It is a low cholesterol meat choice that contains essential fatty acids and is a source of vitamin E, vitamin A equivalents and thiamin, and delivers significant amounts of niacin equivalents, an important nutrient for energy metabolism.

“About 33 per cent of Australians eating chicken do so at least three times a week and with good reason”, comments Dr Dubs, “a carb-free, low in fat protein meat that is easy to prepare, affordable and delicious buys the consumers time and nutrition!”

Dr Peter Clifton, Research Director at CSIRO Human Nutrition, when commenting on the role of chicken in a healthy eating pattern says that “the most important thing for consumers to remember is that chicken, without its skin, is an incredibly lean source of protein with only 0.3 grams of saturated fat per 100g serve. CSIRO recommends a high protein diet for people who want to lose weight and chicken certainly plays a great role in this kind of diet”.

“Food, Health and Nutrition: Where Does Chicken Fit?’ also highlights to GPs, dieticians and nutritionists a range of other issues of interest to consumers addressing personal and cultural values, ranging from taste preferences to environmental issues.

Summary: Chicken Facts

  • Chicken fulfils a valuable role in the Australian diet
  • It is an important source of protein (one serve of 100g providing more than 50% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI)
  • It is low in fat, and particularly low in saturated fat, and is nutrient rich
  • No added hormones are used in the production of chicken in Australia
  • No cages are used in the chicken meat industry, chickens roam freely on the floor of large barns.
  • All chicken meat is locally grown and processed in Australia

Further Reading

More information - You can view the full report by clicking here.
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