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Chicken Versus Beef

Contrary to what you’ve been told, chicken isn’t necessarily the healthier choice.

By
Monica Reinagel, M.S.,L.D./N,
March 29, 2011
Episode #039

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This article is adapted from my new book, Nutrition Diva’s Secrets for a Healthy Diet: What to Eat, What to Avoid, and What to Stop Worrying About.  It’s available wherever you buy or download books. Click here to read another free excerpt.

Turkey and Chicken Myths

Last weekend, I was relaxing with the Sunday paper and came across a story on how to take your favorite comfort foods and make them lighter. For the article, a famous TV chef had adapted some recipes to make them healthier. Her first recipe makeover was for sloppy joes, and to “lighten them up,” she replaced ground beef with ground turkey. That’s it.

How does making sloppy joes with ground turkey make them healthier? I guess that’s what happens when you ask chefs for nutrition advice.

Hidden Nutritional Bombs

I know tons of people who suffer from this same misconception. They proudly tell me that they never eat red meat. They substitute ground turkey or chicken in anything that calls for ground beef. They also eat turkey bacon, turkey sausage, turkey bologna, and turkey hot dogs instead of the regular kind. Having told me all this, they lower their eyes modestly and wait for me to commend them for their nutritional virtue.

Never mind all the sodium, nitrates, preservatives, and saturated fat in that turkey bacon: at least it’s not pork. You know what? That’s just a bunch of turkey boloney. Cold cuts, bacon, and sausages made from turkey or chicken may contain just as much of that stuff as their traditional counterparts. In fact, regardless of what kind of meat went into them, the low-fat versions of these foods are often even higher in sodium than the regular-fat varieties.

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