Listen up Meat Lovers: Is Chicken Good for Weight Loss?

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Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBSGeneral Physician, 6+ Years
Published On : 10-Oct-2022Read Time : 5 minutes
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Who doesn't like spicy grilled chicken or piping hot chicken soup in cold weather? It seems like such a guilty pleasure that people are not sure how healthy it is and how it impacts their weight. So, is chicken good for weight loss? Read this while you plan that yummy chicken-based lunch. 

Contents:

  • Nutritional Profile of Chicken 
  • Benefits of Chicken for Weight Loss 
  • How Much Chicken Can You Eat in a Day for Weight Loss? 
  • What is the Best Time to Eat Chicken for Weight Loss? 
  • How to Eat Chicken for Weight Loss? 
  • Risks of Overconsumption of Chicken 
  • What are the Other Health Benefits of Chicken? 
  • Don’t Have Time To Read? 
  • FAQs 

Nutritional Profile of Chicken

Chicken is a great source of protein and does not contain much fat. It also contains B vitamins, calcium, copper, potassium, and zinc.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 100 g of chicken (cooked skinless and boneless breast meat) contains the following nutrients.

NutrientsAmount
Water65.3 g
Energy158 kcal
Protein32.1 g
Total fat3.24 g
Carbohydrate0 g
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.098 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.187 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)9.45 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)0.921 mg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)0.0002 mg
Potassium343 mg
Phosphorus241 mg
Sodium47 mg
Calcium6 mg
Selenium0.0319
Zinc0.96 mg
Copper0.044 mg
Cholesterol116 mg

Benefits of Chicken for Weight Loss

So we have seen that chicken has a good balance of macro- and micronutrients, but is chicken good for weight loss? Yes, chicken can be good for weight loss because of the following properties:

It is Low in Calories

For losing weight, it is necessary that you are on a calorie deficit. You should aim at burning more calories than you consume. 100 g of chicken has only 158 kcal. With chicken, calories are on the lower side and thus it can be an excellent food choice for weight loss.

It is Rich in Protein

Chicken is a great source of protein. 100 g of chicken contains 32.1 g of protein. Protein is the single most important nutrient for weight loss. High protein intake helps in boosting your metabolism and makes your body burn more calories. 

Protein also delays digestion, which helps in reducing your hunger, increasing the feeling of fullness, and thereby controlling your calorie intake. Having a diet rich in protein helps you lose weight without losing muscle because protein promotes muscle growth when paired with resistance training. Protein also helps you burn more calories at rest.

How Much Chicken Can You Eat in a Day for Weight Loss?

Chicken can be a great addition to your balanced diet for weight loss. If you are wondering how much chicken per day for weight loss is feasible, you can eat around 85 to 115 g of chicken (½ to ¾ cup)  in a day. 

Make sure you cook chicken by a healthy method and eat it in combination with vegetables, legumes, whole grains etc. to increase the fibre intake in your meals and maintain a balance of all nutrients.

What is the Best Time to Eat Chicken for Weight Loss?

Chicken is rich in protein and low in calories and fat, which makes it an ideal food to have at any time of the day. Having chicken during the day can keep you full and prevent unnecessary snacking. 

Having it for dinner can help prevent hunger pangs at night and improve your sleep as it contains high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes sleep. However, if you are eating chicken at night, keep a check on your portion size. Chicken contains a lot of protein. If there is too much protein in your diet, your body takes time and effort to digest the protein, which can disturb your sleep.

How to Eat Chicken for Weight Loss?

Ok, so now you know you can eat chicken for weight loss. But but but, that does not mean you can start hogging on chicken nuggets and wings! For health benefits and for successful weight loss, you have to choose chicken cooked using healthy preparation methods. 

Here are a few ways you can add chicken to your weight loss diet:

Chicken Soup for Weight Loss

Chicken soup containing chicken combined with some veggies, spices and herbs, can be a pot of wholesome meal in itself. Chicken soup is rich in protein, is light on the digestive system, and aids in weight loss. You can prepare delicious chicken soup with chicken, beans, spinach, and corn.

Chicken Salad for Weight Loss

Chicken salad is a versatile healthy dish liked by everyone around the world. If you are struggling with how to cook chicken for weight loss, chicken salad is one of the easiest and most healthy chicken recipes for weight loss. It can be prepared by mixing cooked chicken with yoghurt, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices.

Baked Chicken Breast for Weight Loss

Darker cuts of chicken like the thigh and drumstick contain more calories and fats when compared to the chicken breast. Chicken breasts are good for weight loss as they contain lean muscle and are packed with protein. Season chicken breasts with olive oil, salt, and spices of your choice. Bake it in the oven and enjoy a delicious and healthy treat!

Grilled Chicken for Weight Loss

Grilled chicken can be yummy as well as healthy chicken preparation. It contains fewer calories than other chicken preparations as the fat in the chicken melts away during the preparation process. Also, minimal to no amount of cooking oil is used for grilling chicken. 

Risks of Overconsumption of Chicken

  • Chicken is high in protein and is a good food choice for a balanced diet for weight loss. However, the overconsumption of chicken or being on an “Only Chicken” diet can  be detrimental to your health. Eating only chicken for all your meals can deprive you of other essential nutrients. 
  • Chicken contains a small amount of cholesterol (116 mg in 100 g chicken). Those on a low-cholesterol diet or at risk for heart disease should watch their chicken consumption. 
  • Avoid eating fried and breaded varieties like chicken popcorn and nuggets on a regular basis as they are high in unhealthy fats, carbs, and calories. This can increase the risk of heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and cancer.
  • Limit your intake of processed meat such as ham, salami, and sausages. Studies suggest that processed meat intake is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and cancer as well. 
  • Processed meats may also contain high amounts of sodium and should be avoided or limited by those with high blood pressure

What are the Other Health Benefits of Chicken?

Chicken is not just a feast for your tongue and aid for weight loss. It has several other health benefits too.

  • Eating chicken can help build stronger muscles and promote healthier bones. This reduces the risk of injuries and conditions such as osteoporosis.
  • As we say in the blog, chicken can help maintain weight. A healthier weight can help reduce the risk of heart disease by managing risk factors such as high triglyceride levels and high blood pressure.
  • Chicken contains an amino acid tryptophan, which has been linked to higher levels of the “feel-good hormone” serotonin. Thus, making chicken a part of your diet can help improve your mood when combined with other factors. 

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • Chicken is rich in protein, choline, B vitamins, calcium, copper, potassium, and zinc. It has no carbohydrates and is low in calories. Thus, it is great for a weight loss diet. 
  • The protein in chicken helps keep you satiated for longer and curbs your hunger. It is low in calories and when made in healthy ways, such as chicken salad, soup, baked chicken breast and grilled chicken, it can help you lose weight. 
  • It is ideal to limit yourself to around 85 to 115 g of chicken (½ to ¾ cup) in a day. Chicken can be eaten at any time of the day. However, if eating chicken at night, keep a check on your portion size as chicken contains a lot of protein which can take time to be digested. 
  • Chicken contains a small amount of cholesterol and thus those on a low-cholesterol diet or at risk for heart disease should watch their consumption. Limit the intake of processed chicken and deep-fried chicken preparations. 
  • Chicken can also help in boosting your mood, and promoting bone and muscle health, and regulating your blood pressure by managing your weight.
  • Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading nutritionists and dieticians to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Check out our store to order healthy treats, weighing scales, fitness bands, and more! We also have a Weight Management Program which provides 360º care. Start your weight management journey with Phable. 

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