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Food Myths Debunked: You Should Always Remove Chicken Skin before Eating

Chicken skin is just part of the bird, right? What can be so bad about it that it needs to be removed? This article will discuss what chicken skin is composed of. It will also offer recommendations regarding the consumption of chicken skin if you are dieting or have health concerns. Finally, this article will answer the question--should you always remove chicken skin before eating?

Chicken Skin

Chicken skin, in and of itself, really isn't that bad. However, chicken skin acts kind of like a latex glove--it holds all of the juices and fat in the chicken while it is cooking. When the chicken is cooking, the fat that once was in the body of the bird now flows out of the meat and becomes trapped in the skin--it can't exit the skin, but it also can't go back into the meat. Therefore, the skin of the chicken becomes saturated with fat.

If You Are Dieting...

If you are dieting, it is essential that you remove the skin of the chicken before you consume it. As stated above, chicken skin typically contains high amounts of dietary fat. To put it in perspective, one gram of fat contains 9 calories--on the other hand, one gram of protein, which is what the meat of the chicken is primarily composed of, contains only 4 calories. Therefore, gram for gram you are getting twice the amount of calories from eating the skin of the chicken than if you were to remove the skin and just eat the meat. Finally, chicken skin is typically loaded with tons of sodium and other seasonings that can make you feel bloated.

If You Aren't Dieting...

Even if you aren't dieting, it isn't necessarily the best idea to consume large amounts of chicken skin. The fat found within chicken skin is saturated fat, which can lead to the development of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and even some types of cancer. In addition, chicken skin usually contains high amounts of sodium. As discussed earlier, sodium can lead to abdominal bloating--but recent research has also found that is can lead to the development of arterial and cardiovascular disease. For optimal health, remove chicken skin before eating.

The Verdict

No, you don't have to remove the chicken skin every time before eating. But if you are concerned about your health, or are interested in weight loss, it is probably a good idea. Remember that removing the skin from your chicken doesn't mean that you're banished to a life of flavorless poultry--try injecting your chicken with herbs, spices, and other seasonings to provide great flavors and juicy meat. Finally, remember that it is important to take everything in moderation. In other words, if you choose to consume a small piece of chicken skin from time to time it won't hurt you.

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