Weightloss

Is Chicken Good For Weight Loss? HealthifyMe

Chicken, a popular meat option consumed worldwide, is known for its versatility in various cuisines and dishes. From roasted to grilled, fried to baked, chicken is a crowd-pleaser that one can enjoy in numerous ways. But, beyond its taste and popularity, chicken has also been recognised for its health benefits, particularly in weight loss.

Choosing suitable food options is essential for individuals seeking to lose weight. With its high protein and low-calorie count, chicken can be a valuable addition to a weight-loss diet. This article explores the research behind the benefits of chicken for weight loss, its impact on appetite and metabolic health, and how it can aid in achieving one’s body composition goals. So, is chicken good for weight loss? Let’s find out.

Nutritional Value of Chicken

Besides being low in calories and carbohydrates and rich in protein, chicken offers various other nutrients. For example, chicken is an excellent source of essential minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and selenium. In addition, it is also rich in niacin and folate, B vitamins necessary for proper cell function and metabolism. However, one potential downside of chicken is its cholesterol content, which individuals with high cholesterol levels should monitor. Overall, the nutritional value of chicken makes it a valuable addition to any weight loss diet.

The USDA provides the following nutrition value for one hundred grams of raw skinless chicken.

  • Calories: 120 kcal
  • Protein: 21.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g
  • Fat: 3.1 g
  • Fibre: 0 g
  • Phosphorus: 178 mg
  • Potassium: 522 mg
  • Sodium: 77 mg
  • Zinc: 1.47mg
  • Niacin: 5.58 mg
  • Cholesterol: 86 mg
  • Selenium: 10.2 µg
  • Folate: 85 µg

Chicken: A Weight Loss Superfood?

For a long time, health enthusiasts and fitness freaks have favoured chicken as a dietary choice. One of the most talked-about advantages of consuming chicken is its ability to facilitate weight loss. Here is how chicken helps in weight loss.

High Protein Content

Studies have revealed that the primary reason behind chicken’s weight-loss benefits is its high protein content. Chicken is a significant source of protein, with 21.5 grams of protein present in 100 grams of raw chicken.

Including chicken as a source of protein in a balanced diet can be highly advantageous. Protein helps you feel fuller for longer, boosts metabolism, and promotes post-workout recovery. In addition, several studies have indicated that increasing protein consumption can promote weight loss, and preserve lean body mass.

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Protein also fosters muscle growth when paired with strengthening exercises and resistance training, increasing resting calorie burn. It makes chicken an essential component of a diet aimed at building strength.

Less Fat and Cholesterol

Research shows that chicken contains less saturated fat and cholesterol than red meat, making it a healthier alternative. However, choosing organic and natural chicken is crucial to avoid harmful chemicals and additives.

Low in Calories

Another reason why chicken is so effective for weight loss is because of its low-calorie content. A study suggests maintaining a calorie deficit regarding weight loss is crucial. It means burning more calories than you consume. One hundred grams of raw skinless chicken has only 120 kcal, which makes it an excellent food choice for those looking to lose weight.

Chicken is an excellent option for weight watchers because of its low calories but high in healthy nutrients that promote weight loss. In addition, regular consumption of chicken can strengthen your bones, reduce appetite, and build muscle mass.

Other Benefits of Chicken for Weight Loss

Besides its low-calorie and high-protein content, chicken offers additional advantages supporting weight loss efforts. Studies show stress can induce weight gain by overeating and consuming foods high in calories, fat, or sugar. It also leads to decreased physical activity and shortened sleep. 

Chicken contains various vitamins and minerals that can alleviate premenstrual symptoms and reduce stress. Notably, it contains selenium, niacin, and phosphorus, which can assist with weight management and improve overall physical health.

A healthy plate of food is only complete with some chicken and lean meat to help you lose weight healthily. Eating right after a workout is also critical to building stronger muscles. Consuming a balanced diet with the right amount of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals and regular exercise is essential to lose weight and build muscle mass.

Summary

Chicken is a weight loss superfood with many benefits. The high protein content is one of the primary reasons for its weight-loss benefits, as it helps increase feelings of fullness, boost metabolism, and promote post-workout recovery. Chicken also contains less saturated fat and cholesterol than red meat, making it a healthier alternative. In addition, chicken is low in calories, with only 120 kcal per 100 grams of raw chicken. Moreover, regular chicken consumption can strengthen bones, reduce appetite, and build muscle mass.

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How Much Chicken Consumption Is Ideal During Weight Loss?

Maintaining a healthy weight is a continuous process involving gradual changes to your diet. A balanced weight loss diet should contain all major food groups, low in simple carbs and empty calories. For example, a diet containing 1100-1200 calories with 25-28% of calories from protein is suitable for weight loss.

For those looking to lose weight, consuming 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is advisable. However, protein requirements can vary depending on one’s weight and activity level, and it’s best to consult a nutritionist to determine your personalised protein needs and portion sizes.

It is also essential to incorporate at least three times the quantity of fibre in the form of salads, fruits and vegetables to avoid the harmful effects of protein.

Summary

To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, you must make gradual changes to your diet, including all major food groups, and limit simple carbs and empty calories. A balanced weight loss diet with a calorie intake of 1100-1200 and 25-28% of calories from protein can be effective.

Ways to Eat Chicken for Weight Loss

Eating chicken can be a great way to lose weight. It is a lean protein that can help you feel full and satisfied while providing essential nutrients. However, how you prepare and eat chicken can affect weight loss. Here are some healthy recipes that can help you eat chicken for weight loss:

Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is a healthy and delicious option for weight loss because it’s low in calories and high in protein. Here’s how to prepare chicken soup:

Ingredients

  • Chicken breasts: 2
  • Onion, chopped: 1
  • Carrots, chopped: 2
  • Celery stalks chopped: 2
  • Garlic cloves, minced: 4
  • Chicken broth: 8 cups
  • Bay leaves: 2
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil: 2 tsp
  • Fresh parsley for garnish

Method of Preparation

  1. Put chopped onion, carrots, celery, and garlic into a large pot. Saute until tender. 
  2. Add chicken breasts, broth, bay leaves, salt, and pepper to the pot.
  3. Bring it to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the soup for 30-40 minutes.
  5. Remove the chicken from the pot and shred it using two forks.
  6. Put the chicken in the pot again and stir to combine.
  7. Serve the soup hot with fresh parsley for garnish.

Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • Boneless chicken pieces: 500 g
  • Cucumber diced: 1
  • Tomato diced: 1
  • Onion, chopped: 1
  • Green bell pepper diced: 1
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil: 2 tsp
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Chopped coriander leaves: 2 tbsp

Method of Preparation

  1. Boil the chicken pieces in salted water until they cook through. Drain and let cool.
  2. Cut the cooled chicken pieces into small bite-sized pieces.
  3. Add the pieces to a large mixing bowl with diced cucumber, tomato, onion, and green bell pepper. 
  4. Drizzle a bit of olive oil and lemon juice over the salad, and season with salt to taste. Mix well.
  5. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve chilled.

Chicken Curry

Ingredients

  • Boneless chicken pieces: 500 g
  • Onions, finely chopped: 2
  • Tomatoes, chopped: 2
  • Ginger garlic paste: 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
  • Red chilli powder: 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil: 1 tbsp
  • Water as needed

Method of Preparation

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan on medium heat.
  2. Once heated, add the cumin seeds and allow them to splutter.
  3. Add the onions, ginger, garlic paste, and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, and salt.
  5. Cook for approximately 5–6 minutes until the tomatoes become soft.
  6. Now, add the chicken pieces and mix well to coat with the tomato mixture.
  7. Add adequate water to cover the chicken pieces, and bring to a boil.
  8. Simmer the heat, and cover the pan with a lid for 20-25 minutes.

Other Healthy Ways to Eat Chicken for Weight Loss

  1. Grilled Tandoori Chicken: This classic Indian dish is made with skinless chicken breasts. Marinate the chicken with yoghurt and spices like turmeric, cumin, and coriander, and grill until tender and juicy. Serve with a slide of roasted vegetables for a filling and healthy meal.
  2. Chicken Kebab: Marinate cubed chicken breast in a mixture of yoghurt, lemon juice, and spices. Then grill or bake until cooked through. Serve with roasted vegetables or a salad for a low-calorie meal.
  3. Chicken Tikka Masala: While this dish is traditionally made with cream and butter, you can lighten it using low-fat yoghurts or coconut milk. Serve over brown rice or quinoa, and add roasted vegetables for a complete meal.

Grilled Variants Good For Weight Loss: Here’s Why

Grilled options are better for weight loss than fried ones. Grilling reduces excess fat by allowing it to drip off. It requires less oil or butter for preparation, preserving nutrient profiles.

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Chicken is affordable and considered “leaner meat” due to its lower cholesterol and saturated fat content. Therefore, it is prevalent among weight watchers. In addition, it contains high protein, low-fat content, and helpful vitamins and minerals for weight loss and building a healthier body.

It is essential to be cautious about the type of chicken you consume. Moreover, removing the skin is necessary to avoid extra fat content.

Summary

Grilled chicken dishes, such as Tandoori chicken, chicken kebab, and chicken tikka masala, are excellent options for weight loss compared to fried chicken. Grilling allows excess fat to drip off, reducing fat content, and requires less oil or butter for preparation, preserving the nutrient profile.

Points to Consider While Incorporating Chicken into Your Weight-Loss Diet

  1. Choose lean cuts of chicken: To keep your calorie intake low, choose lean cuts of chicken, like skinless chicken breast or thighs. These cuts are lower in calories and fat than other chicken parts.
  2. Avoid frying: Frying chicken can add a lot of extra calories and unhealthy fats to your meal. Instead, try grilling, baking, or sautéing your chicken.
  3. Pair with healthy sides: To make a balanced meal, pair your chicken with healthy sides like roasted vegetables, brown rice, or a salad. These will provide fibre, vitamins, and minerals to help you stay full and satisfied.
  4. Watch your portion sizes: Limit your chicken intake to 3-4 ounces per serving, about the size of a deck of cards.
  5. Grass-fed Chicken: Grass-fed chicken is a beneficial addition to a weight loss diet due to its lower fat and calorie content and higher protein and nutrient levels than grain-fed chicken. However, it is more expensive and research on its weight loss benefits is limited. Therefore, it is essential to follow a holistic approach to weight loss and not rely solely on one specific type of food.

Summary

When incorporating chicken into a weight-loss diet, it is important to choose lean cuts like skinless chicken breast or thighs and to avoid frying. Grilling, baking, or sautéing are healthier cooking methods. To create a balanced meal, pair your chicken with healthy sides like roasted vegetables, brown rice, or salad, and limit your chicken intake to 3-4 ounces per serving, roughly the size of a deck of cards.

HealthifyMe Suggestion

Have you tried making chicken lettuce wraps for weight loss? This dish is an excellent alternative to carb-heavy meals like burgers and sandwiches. To make it, start by sautéing diced chicken breast in olive oil with minced garlic and ginger. Once cooked, add chopped vegetables such as mushrooms, carrots, and water chestnuts. Add in some soy sauce and hoisin sauce for flavour. Spoon the chicken mixture into a lettuce leaf, wrap it up, and enjoy! Not only is this dish low in calories, but it is also rich in protein and fibre, making it an excellent option for weight loss.

The Final Word

Including chicken in your diet can aid weight loss as it is high in protein and nutrients while low in calories. However, avoiding fried and processed options is essential and opt for organic, natural chicken. A nutritious diet, regular exercise, and balanced protein intake are crucial for effective weight loss. Chicken can be a valuable part of a healthy diet that promotes weight loss and overall health. Be sure to include it in your meals to enjoy its benefits.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information, please contact our certified nutritionists Here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is chicken good for weight loss?

A. Chicken is good for weight loss because it contains fewer calories and is a lean protein source. Protein helps you to stay full and satiated for a long time. It also prevents overeating and helps to reduce weight. However, the overall impact depends upon the amount you consume and the type of chicken you choose. It is best to opt for skinless, boneless chicken breast.

Q. How many calories are in chicken? 

A. A 100-gram skinless chicken breast provides 120 calories, 22.5-gram protein, 2.6-gram fat and 0-gram carbs. That implies that most calories in chicken breast come from protein, then fat. However, the overall number of calories also varies depending on the part of the chicken and the method of preparation.

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Q. What parts of the chicken are best for weight loss? 

A. If you desire to lose weight by consuming chicken, then the skinless chicken breast is the leanest part of the chicken. Therefore, it is the best cut because it has fewer calories while providing a high-protein supply. In addition to that, you can consume it in several ways.

Q. Is it better to eat chicken breast or thigh for weight loss? 

A. Chicken breast is a healthier option for achieving your weight loss goal. Chicken breast and chicken thighs differ in nutritional profile. Therefore, it is best to opt for chicken breast because of its low calories, high protein, low fats and saturated fats. However, it is necessary to limit the portion sizes.

Q. How should I prepare chicken for weight loss? 

A.  To cook chicken for your weight loss diet, you can opt for chicken salad, soup, grilled chicken and baked chicken. It is best to avoid frying, as it may increase its calories. The protein in chicken helps keep you full for longer and curbs your hunger. Moreover, its low calories allow you to lose weight effectively.

Q. Can I eat fried chicken on a weight loss diet? 

A. It is healthier to incorporate chicken into your weight loss diet as it is lean meat and low in calories. However, after frying chicken, you may put yourself at risk of high cholesterol. In addition, fried chicken has high calories, carbs, and many unhealthy fats. Therefore, it is best to avoid fried chicken.

Q. How much chicken should I eat per day for weight loss? 

A. Chicken is an excellent option to include in your weight loss diet. Calculating how much protein you need daily for weight loss is better. Also, calculate individual calorie needs and goals. Consuming around 100 grams of chicken in a day is feasible. It has only 120 calories, most of which come from protein.

Q. Does eating chicken help you lose belly fat? 

A. Chicken helps lose overall body weight if consumed as a healthy and balanced diet. In the process, one can also lose belly fat. While eating chicken, remember to opt for lean chicken breast; it is a good source of protein with fewer calories. However, you may need more than eating chicken alone to achieve the desired results. Therefore, it is best to have a balanced diet, exercise, and lean meat to promote weight loss and reduce belly fat.

Q. Can chicken be part of a low-carb or keto diet for weight loss? 

A. A. Chicken can be a part of a low-carb or keto diet, as it contains no carbs. It is also rich in high-quality protein, which helps build and strengthen muscles and lose weight. But, opting for leaner cuts like chicken breast or thighs is crucial, and avoid breading or high-carb sauces.

Q. Are there any downsides to eating chicken for weight loss?

A. Adding chicken to your weight loss diet is a healthier option, but relying too much on protein sources can lead to nutrient gaps. Chicken is also rich in calcium and phosphorus, which may lead to kidney stones if consumed in excess. Therefore, opt for leaner cuts and some sides like vegetables, legumes, and other protein sources.

Research Sources

1. Moon J, Koh G. Clinical Evidence and Mechanisms of High-Protein Diet-Induced Weight Loss. J Obes Metab Syndr. 2020 Sep 30;29(3):166-173. doi: 10.7570/jomes20028. PMID: 32699189; PMCID: PMC7539343.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7539343/

2. Leidy, Heather & Clifton, Peter & Astrup, Arne & Wycherley, Thomas & Westerterp-Plantenga, Margriet & Luscombe, Natalie & Woods, Stephen & Mattes, Richard. (2015). The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. The American Journal of clinical nutrition. 101. 10.3945/ajcn.114.084038. 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275667598_The_role_of_protein_in_weight_loss_and_maintenance

3. Bergeron N, Chiu S, Williams PT, M King S, Krauss RM. Effects of red meat, white meat, and non-meat protein sources on atherogenic lipoprotein measures in the context of low compared with high saturated fat intake: a randomised controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2019 Jul 1;110(1):24-33. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqz035. Erratum in: Am J Clin Nutr. 2019 Sep 1;110(3):783. PMID: 31161217; PMCID: PMC6599736.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31161217/

4. Kim JY. Optimal Diet Strategies for Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance. J Obes Metab Syndr. 2021 Mar 30;30(1):20-31. doi: 10.7570/jomes20065. PMID: 33107442; PMCID: PMC8017325.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8017325/

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